U.S. Green Building Council Announces California Ranks Ninth in U.S. for LEED Green Building in 2018

U.S. Green Building Council, California, Lucile Packard Children's Hospital, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Playa Vista Elementary School
Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford (Tim Griffith)

State has been ranked in the top 10 list since 2011

Washington, D.C.  (Feb. 4, 2019) — Today, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) released its annual list of Top 10 States for LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), the world’s most widely used green building rating system. California came in at number nine on the list, which ranks states based on the number of LEED certified square feet per person. California has made the Top 10 States for LEED list since 2011.

“Over the past 25 years, the U.S. Green Building Council, its member companies and the green building community have come together to make our planet stronger, greener and more sustainable through LEED,” said Mahesh Ramanujam, president and CEO, USGBC. “These Top 10 states are examples of how we can create lasting, measurable change and improve the quality of life for everyone in our communities. A better future requires a universal living standard that leaves no one behind—and that future would simply not be possible without the extraordinary work being done in these states.” 

The states that made this year’s Top 10 are home to 128 million Americans, and the more than 1,800 buildings that certified in 2018 represent more than 468 million gross square feet of space. Buildings that are LEED-certified create healthier spaces for people, as well as use less energy and water, reduce carbon emissions and save money for families, businesses and taxpayers.

California consistently certifies hundreds of green buildings in the state every year. California certified 521 green buildings in 2018, representing 3.02 square feet of LEED-certified space per person. Notable projects that certified in California in 2018 include:

·       Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, LEED Platinum, which worked closely with patients, families and hospital faculty and staff on a family-centered design that is expected to reduce energy consumption by 60 percent compared to regional hospital averages, and included integrating 3.5 acres of gardens and green spaces at the pediatric campus;

·       Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) Central Engineering Building, LEED Gold, one of the first projects to certify through LEED v4.1 O+M, has more than 800 solar rooftop panels. The JPL uses LEED to compare progress and continuously improve building performance across its campus while also meeting federal guiding principles for sustainable buildings as a contractor to NASA; and

·       Playa Vista Elementary School, LEED Platinum, a STEM-focused elementary school that partners with Loyola Marymount University on a professional development teaching program. The school has created outdoor “learning zones” for students that include vegetable gardens, meeting areas, outdoor classroom and water zones.

“As a state, California has always been ahead of the pack, showing the rest of the country how to develop responsibly and sustainably through policy, practice, and public engagement,” said Taryn Holowka, senior vice president with USGBC. “Local and state advocates and officials have worked hard to make LEED and green building as accessible as possible to their communities, and have improved quality of life for California residents along the way. With LEED v4.1, the expertise of builders and developers, and the dedication of our USGBC members based in California, I know the state will continue to be a leader in 2019 and beyond. Congratulations to everyone in California who contributed to this tremendous achievement.”

Now in its ninth year, the 2018 Top 10 States for LEED list is based on 2010 U.S. Census data and includes commercial and institutional green building projects that earned LEED certification in 2018. The full rankings are as follows:

USGBC calculates the list using per capita figures to allow for a fair comparison of the level of green building taking place among states with significant differences in population and number of overall buildings. In the U.S., 2,886 commercial projects certified in 2018. Globally, there are currently more than 96,275 registered and certified LEED projects in 167 countries and regions around the world.

Recently, USGBC introduced LEED v4.1, the latest update to the rating system, and released beta versions for existing buildings (LEED v4.1 O+M), new construction (LEED v4.1 BD+C) and interiors (LEED v4.1 ID+C). LEED v4.1 emphasizes human health and integrates performance metrics using Arc to encourage ongoing tracking. Recent research shows green building will continue growing through 2021. Client demand remains the top reason to build green in the U.S. and occupant health and well-being emerged as the top social factor. Through LEED, USGBC pushes the market toward higher performing buildings that also improve quality of life.

The impact of buildings, cities and communities on people continues to be a priority for USGBC and across industries. In an effort to expand USGBC’s global green building efforts and ensure that LEED is not only the de facto leadership standard, but also the pre-eminent living standard, USGBC launched the Living Standard campaign at 2018’s Greenbuild in Chicago. Focused on the belief that storytelling can lead to a more sustainable world, the campaign aims to highlight stories – big and small – that capture how USGBC, LEED and other sustainability programs are raising the quality of life for people around the world. By visiting livingstandard.org, individuals and companies can join the campaign and submit stories. 

About the U.S. Green Building Council

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is committed to a prosperous and sustainable future through cost-efficient and energy-saving green buildings. USGBC works toward its mission of market transformation through its LEED green building program, robust educational offeringsan international network of local community leaders, the annual Greenbuild International Conference & Expo, the Center for Green Schools and advocacy in support of public policy that encourages and enables green buildings and communities. For more information, visit usgbc.org.