Illinois Gains Green-Building Ground

January 22, 2012

The Illinois and Chicago real estate markets added more green buildings last year than almost any area of the country.

Illinois was ranked No. 3 on the recently released list of Top 10 States for LEED Green Buildings by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).

The Wrigley Building seen from the Chicago River.

The iconic Wrigley Building, which earned LEED Silver in 2011, was recognized by the USGBC in its report.

The USGBC’s list is based on each state’s LEED-certified commercial and institutional green buildings per capita last year.

According to the 2010 U.S. Census, Illinois had 34.5 million square feet of green building space, which equated to 2.69 feet of LEED-certified space per person in 2011.

The only two areas in the country to boast more were the District of Columbia, with an impressive 31.50 square feet of space that earned LEED-certification last year, and the state of Colorado, at 2.74 square feet.

“Being in the top three is a testament to the diversity of stakeholders from across Illinois who understand the significant environmental, economic, and social benefits related to LEED certification,” said Doug Widener, Executive Director of the Illinois Chapter of USGBC. “I applaud Illinois’ diverse green building community on this outstanding achievement.”

LEED, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is the internationally recognized mark of green building excellence. Certification means a building was designed and is maintained using environmentally friendly solutions, like energy and water conservation measures.

There are more than 44,000 commercial projects over 8 billion square feet of construction space in all 50 states and 120 countries that are LEED-certified.

Over 16,000 homes have been certified under the LEED for Homes rating system, which also has more than 67,000 additional homes registered.

The USGBC highlighted some notable newly certified projects with this year’s report, including the iconic Wrigley Building in Chicago, and the Treasury Building in Washington, D.C., which is distinguished as the oldest LEED-certified project in the world.

“Looking past the bricks and mortar, people are at the heart of what buildings are all about,” said Rick Fedrizzi, President, CEO & Founding Chair, USGBC. “Examining the per capita value of LEED square footage in these states allows us to focus on what matters most — the human element of green buildings.”

The 2011 list of Top 10 States for LEED Green Buildings, according to the USGBC:

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