Massachusetts Among the Top States for Green Building 2023

Peter Templeton

Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) released its annual Top 10 States for LEED ranking of U.S. states leading the way on green building, and Massachusetts made the list at number three.

USGBC’s ranking is based on LEED-certified gross square footage per capita over the past year. The LEED rating system is the world’s most widely used green building program and was created by USGBC as a leadership standard defining best practices for healthy, highperforming green buildings.

“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.”

Massachusetts continues to be a leading state for green buildings, with 3.2060 certified square feet per capita. In 2023, the state had 105 LEED certifications representing more than 22 million certified square footage. Many projects were in the education and research sector, including universities, K-12 schools and laboratory projects. Boston’s Logan Airport was one of the most notable projects, achieving LEED Gold certification.

Behind New York (4.63 certified square feet per capita) and Illinois (3.2136 certified square feet per capita), Massachusetts (3.2060), Washington (3.01 certified square feet per capita) and Georgia (2.56 certified square feet per capita) rounded out the top 5 states.

As a federal territory, Washington, D.C., does not appear in the official top 10 list of states, but it consistently leads the nation in LEED-certified square footage per capita. In 2023, the nation’s capital certified over 43 square feet of space per resident across 126 green building projects.
The full Top 10 States for LEED are:


In 2023, the top 10 states certified 1,221 projects and over 343 million gross square feet under LEED.

Since it was first established in 1998, LEED’s metrics-based system has set the standard for healthy, resilient, green buildings. in 2023, USGBC announced requirements for LEED v5 for Operations + Maintenance (O+M) during Greenbuild. LEED v5 includes new credits and requirements to help address carbon emissions in buildings.

Massachusetts has ambitious climate goals with the aim to reach a 50% emissions reduction below 1990 levels by 2030 and a 100% reduction by 2050. Cities like Boston and Cambridge have also enacted BPS policies within the past four years that target maximum annual GHG emissions of public and commercial buildings.