Illinois topped the U.S. Green Building Council's annual ranking of states for LEED green building in 2018, followed by Massachusetts, Washington and New York, according to www.smartcitiesdive.com.
States were ranked based on the number of LEED-certified square feet per capita in the state. In 2018, Illinois certified 172 LEED projects for a total of 5.31 square feet of LEED-certified building per person. Illinois last led the USGBC ranking in 2015. There were 2,886 total LEED projects in the U.S. during 2018, for a total of more than 615 million square feet of building space.
Washington and Texas had their highest LEED square footage totals, and Colorado jumped from 10th place in 2017 to sixth in 2018, with 114 LEED projects. USGBC notes that Washington, D.C., would have had the highest ranking with 61.7 green square feet per capita, but it is not included because it is not a state.
Illinois has had several successful projects, including certification of the Willis Tower as LEED Gold for some efficiency upgrades, as well as Chicago making green buildings key to its sustainability efforts with a goal of powering its more than 900 city buildings with renewable energy by 2025. Additionally, the voluntary Retrofit Chicago has led to 90 participants reducing total energy use by 17 percent. Last year, Chicago was one of seven cities to receive USGBC's LEED for Cities Platinum certification—the highest offering to a city.
A survey commissioned by the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions found 70 percent of cities surveyed have set energy-efficiency goals for new and existing buildings, and some have set demanding goals for making municipal buildings more efficient.