New York, Illinois, Massachusetts Lead 2023 Top 10 States For Green Building

This is the first time that New York has earned the top spot on the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) annual list of Top 10 States for LEED.

For the first time ever, New York has earned the top spot on the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) annual list of Top 10 States for LEED. New York earned its number-one ranking based on LEED-certified gross square footage per capita over the past year, which lead the country in green building. New York totaled 201 newly LEED-certified projects in 2023 that encompassed more than 93 million square feet, equating to nearly 4.6 LEED-certified square feet per resident.

Green Building
The Pocantico / Rockefeller Creative Arts Center in Tarrytown is just one example of New York’s green building efforts. Click the photo to read more about this facility. (Source: FX Collaborative Architects / USGBC)


Following New York was Illinois (3.213 square feet per capita), Massachusetts (3.210 square feet per capita), Washington (3.01 square feet per capita), and Georgia (2.56 square feet per capita). Though not officially on the list because of its status as a federal district, the District of Columbia continued to lead nationally with more than 43 certified square feet per capita.

Green Building
(Source: USGBC)

“The LEED certification system is a vital tool for both organizations and governments seeking to create better living, working and learning spaces while addressing the urgent challenges of climate change, health and affordability,” said Peter Templeton, USGBC president and CEO. “The top 10 report highlights the remarkable progress of the public and private sectors towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions, health impacts, and operating costs in buildings across their states. USGBC applauds the Top 10 states for their leadership in adopting the readily available technologies and proven green building solutions needed to advance healthy, responsible, and equitable communities in every state.”

2023: A Record-Setting Year For Green Building

Green Building
(Source: USGBC)

USGBC offers LEED and other industry-shaping resources to aide reducing greenhouse gas emissions in new and existing buildings.

As the world saw alarming climate impacts, including record-setting temperatures and storms of increasing intensity, a new record was set in 2023 for adding the most LEED-certified gross square footage (GSF) of green building space in a single year. In total, there were more than 6,000 LEED-certified commercial projects worldwide, representing 1.36 billion gross square feet.

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In 2023, USGBC introduced a draft of its LEED v5 for Operations and Maintenance (O+M) rating system for existing buildings. LEED v5 is the newest version of LEED and marks a transformative milestone in the built environment’s alignment with a low-carbon future and addresses critical imperatives such as equity, health, ecosystems and resilience.

To underscore these imperatives, USGBC released an embodied carbon report with RMI (founded as Rocky Mountain Institute) and published a State of Decarbonization report alongside global sustainable development firm Arup. The State of Decarbonization report outlines key market drivers for LEED and other climate solutions.

Additional information on the 2023 rankings, along with a listing of notable green building projects across the U.S., can be found on the Top 10 States for LEED page.

Click here to read more about renewable energy and sustainability issues related to corporate real estate and site selection.


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