Maryland jumped to second place last year in a ranking of environmentally friendly building activity.
In 2013, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) said it approved 119 commercial or institutional projects in Maryland for certification under Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design or LEED standards, a total of 12.7 million square feet. That represents 2.2 square feet of LEED-certified real estate per resident, behind Illinois at 2.29 square feet per resident.
The LEED system considers aspects of a project's design, contruction and operation, including water use, installation of green appliances, ingredients of building materials, and access to public transit. Some items are required for certification; with others, builders can earn additional points for higher levels of certification.
USGBC calcuates that LEED-certified buildings can help save as much as 40 percent on energy and water bills.
It is the first year since 2010, when the council started the list, that Maryland has made the top five. In 2011 and 2012 it ranked sixth, according to the USGBC.
"Maryland is truly a leader for green building, and it's rewarding to make the top 10 list," said Mary Pulcinella, executive director of USGBC's Maryland Chapter, in a statement. "Being recognized is not the end goal, however — we still hope to see more widespread implementation of green building practices and look forward to the innovative ideas coming from our industry leaders and inspired entrepreneurs."
Overall, Maryland, where many counties offer tax credits for green buildings, has about 560 LEED-certified projects, the 13th highest number in the county, according to the USGBC. The USGBC uses a per capita measure for its annual ranking to allow for comparison between states, where construction activity levels may vary due in part to population.
The state's 2013 LEED-certified projects included Baltimore's M&T Bank Stadium, home of the Baltimore Ravens. The other top five states were Virginia (3), Massachusetts (4), and New York and California, which tied for fifth place.
Washington, D.C., which was not included in the state ranking, had 106 LEED-certified projects, representing more than 32 square feet per resident.