USGBC Releases Top 10 LEED States for 2022


On Tuesday (Jan. 17), the U.S. Green Building Council announced its Top 10 States for LEED green building. Upon review of each state’s LEED-certified gross square footage per capita over the past year, it was determined that in 2022 Massachusetts returned to the top after losing its spot to Illinois in 2021.

In the state of Massachusetts, 96 buildings encompassing over 26 million square feet were LEED-certified in 2022, equating to nearly 3.7 LEED-certified square feet per resident.

The LEED rating system is the world’s most widely used green building program and was created by USGBC as a leadership standard defining best practices for healthy, high-performing green buildings.

“It was a strong year for LEED certifications across the U.S. as companies and governments embrace LEED as a tool for meeting ESG goals and organizational commitments to climate action, occupant well-being and resource efficiency,” said Peter Templeton, USGBC President and CEO.

“LEED buildings are environmentally friendly, cutting their emissions and waste, and use less energy and water. At the same time, they also help reduce operational and maintenance costs, contributing to the bottom line.”

Since its establishment in 2000, LEED’s metrics-based system has set the standard for healthy, resilient, green buildings. According to last year’s numbers, USGBC surpassed 100,000 LEED-certified projects globally, totaling more than 11 billion certified gross square feet.

Of those states making the top 10 list, USGBC reported that in 2022 1,225 projects and nearly 353 million gross square feet were certified under LEED. The top 10 list of states and their respective square feet per capita are as follows:

  1. Massachusetts – 3.76 square feet per capita;
  2. Illinois - 3.48 square feet per capita;
  3. New York - 3.17 square feet per capita;
  4. California - 2.44 square feet per capita;
  5. Maryland - 2.39 square feet per capita;
  6. Georgia – 2.25 square feet per capita;
  7. Colorado – 2.17 square feet per capita;
  8. Virginia – 1.89 square feet per capita;
  9. Texas – 1.67 square feet per capita; and
  10. Oregon – 1.43 square feet per capita.

As a federal territory, Washington, D.C., does not appear in the official top 10 list of states, but it has consistently led the nation in LEED-certified square footage per capita, in part because of the federal government and the District’s ongoing commitments to green building.

In 2022, the nation’s capital certified 46.06 square feet of space per resident across 115 green building projects.

Additional information on the 2022 rankings, along with a listing of notable projects, can be found here.

2022 LEED Leadership Program

Back in April, the USGBC announced 15 cities and counties to participate in the 2022 LEED for Cities Local Government Leadership Program.

Since 2017, the program—backed by USGBC and the Bank of America—has reportedly contributed more than $2 million to provide peer-to-peer networking opportunities, technical assistance and access to educational resources as well as waive USGBC membership, and LEED registration and certification fees.

To accomplish these efforts, the partnership brings together diverse local governments from around the country.

At the time, the program was reported to raise the bar in that it would also be supporting the program’s first LEED for Cities Equity Fellow, a new position at USGBC that aims to advance tangible action on social equity in each participating city or county.

The effort would also involve the production of training and case studies by staff and consultants, while local leaders set goals and tangible actions to be completed over the program year.

In addition, the 2022 program focused on the LEED for Cities’ Quality of Life category, which featured topics like environmental justice; civic and community engagement; public health; education; jobs and housing affordability.

The 15 governments selected for 2022 reportedly represented more than three million Americans and a land area approximately the size of the state of Delaware. They included:

  • Amesbury, Massachusetts;
  • Cape Canaveral, Florida;
  • Columbia, South Carolina;
  • Cutler Bay, Florida;
  • Davidson, North Carolina;
  • Dayton, Ohio;
  • Fort Lauderdale, Florida;
  • Henderson, Nevada;
  • Issaquah, Washington;
  • Ithaca, New York;
  • La Crescent, Minnesota;
  • Oakland County, Michigan;
  • Reno, Nevada;
  • State College, Pennsylvania; and
  • Tucson, Arizona.

The USGBC added in its announcement that more than 130 cities and communities had achieved LEED certification.

Recent USGBC News

In November, the USGBC announced plans to update the primary version of the LEED green building certification program, LEED v4.

According to USGBC, updates made to the primary version of the LEED green building certification program, LEED v4, will better enable Building Design and Construction (BD+C) and Interior Design and Construction (ID+C) projects to demonstrate improvement in energy performance with LEED v4.1’s and LEED v4’s evolving needs of the market and build on previous versions of the LEED rating system.

The latest version of the LEED rating system is expected to enter the development phase this month. After months of conversations with the global LEED community, it was decided by the Council that the development of the new rating system will be guided by the Future of LEED Principles.

That same month, the USGBC and Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI) announced the appointment of Peter Templeton as President and CEO. In this position, Templeton has begun assisting in increasing the impact and reach of the organizations’ efforts regarding green building and green business market transformation activities around the world.

According to USGBC and GBCI, Templeton has served the organizations for more than 20 years and played a leading role in the development, launch and ongoing operation of its LEED program. More recently, during his interim period, Templeton focused on driving behavior changes to improve public health and the environment in communities worldwide.

Templeton holds a master’s degree in Urban and Environmental Planning from the University of Virginia and a bachelor’s degree from Vanderbilt University. He currently serves as a board member of the World Green Building Council and Sustentabilidad paraMexico (SUMe).

The recent appointment follows the organizations’ announcement launching a search to fill the positions back in January. Executive search company Odgers Berndtson reportedly helped the organization to land on an individual who would provide strategic, financial and operational leadership, and that could work closely with the board and senior leadership team.


Tagged categories: Architecture; Carbon footprint; Color + Design; Design; Design - Commercial; Emissions; Good Technical Practice; Green building; Green coatings; Green design; LEED; LEED v4; LEED v4; NA; North America; United States Green Building Council (USGBC)

Join the Conversation:

Sign in to our community to add your comments.