Greener Silicon Valley offices: Where California, cities rank nationwide in LEED

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Where are the nation’s greenest new buildings? Illinois tops the list with 2.29 square feet per capita.

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When it comes to LEED-certified buildings, California is No. 5.

That’s according to the latest state-by-state rankings from the U.S. Green Building Council, which administers the efficiency-rating system whose letters stand for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. LEED certification indicates that the building uses energy efficient or other green attributes in its design and operation.

The Golden State has more square feet of LEED-certified buildings than any other (nearly 78 million square feet in aggregate). But the USGBC determines rankings on a per-capita basis. By that standard, California has 1.95 square feet of LEED-certified space per capita. Top-ranked Illinois, with some 29.4 million square feet of LEED space, clocks in with 2.29 square feet per capita. (California actually tied for the fifth-place spot with New York.)

In Silicon Valley, LEED-certified projects are practically a requirement for many tenants to consider occupying them. So it’s no surprise that the region’s portfolio of LEED-certified buildings is expanding — both for new construction and rehabs. I asked the USGBC to pull some local statistics. They show that Santa Clara County had more than 4.1 million square feet of certified-LEED space as of 2013. That is about 5.5 percent of total LEED buildings in the state. Also, 2013 saw nearly twice as many buildings certified as 2012 — 81 in the year just ended, compared to 44 in 2012. That’s up from 29 in 2009 and eight in 2008.

The system was developed in 1998. In 2013, Sunnyvale led the pack of Santa Clara County cities, with 12 buildings earning the certification. Mountain View came in second with 11.

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