Illinois is Again Tops in Nation for LEED-Certified Projects

By Matt Baker

For the third straight year, Illinois tops the annual ranking of green building projects in the U.S. The per capita list was compiled by the USGBC using U.S. Census data and commercial and institutional green building projects that were LEED-certified throughout 2015. Illinois retained its top national position with 161 LEED certifications last year, representing 3.43 square feet of certified space per resident.

“Year after year, Illinois sets a high bar for green building thanks to the dynamic network of companies and industry leaders who have made sustainability part of their business model,” said Brian Imus, Executive Director of the USGBC-Illinois Chapter. “The commitment found in Illinois comes from an understanding that sustainability is not only good for business, it is key to improving the health and quality of life for everyone.”

The 2015 list featured the highest average (2.47) of per capita space certified per resident per state since 2010, and the second highest average to date. Six of the eight states which were also on the list in 2013, including Illinois, increased the amount of square footage they certified per resident in 2014. Illinois and Colorado are the only two states to make the list every year since 2010.

The USGBC calculates the list using per capita figures as a measure of the human element of green building, allowing for a fair comparison of the level of green building taking place among states with significant differences in population and, accordingly, number of overall buildings. Collectively, 1,633 commercial and institutional projects were LEED certified in the top 10 states last year, representing just under 275 million square feet of real estate. Nearly 75,000 projects and 14.4 billion square feet of space have been LEED-certified to date.

Illinois and Colorado are the only two states to have made the list every year since its inception in 2010. The top ten for 2015 is as follows:


Projects Certified in 2015

Square Feet Certified in 2015 (millions)

Per Capita Square Footage

1 Illinois 161 43.9 3.43
2 Maryland 127 17.6 3.06
3 Massachusetts 112 19.8 3.03
4 Washington 101 17.4 2.60
5 Colorado 95 12.2 2.43
6 Nevada 30 6.5 2.42
7 California 618 87.3 2.34
8 Texas 237 52.4 2.09
9 Virginia 121 13.0 1.63
10 Utah 31 4.4 1.63

Graphic courtesy of USGBC

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