There are few better indicators of leadership in the green building realm than to be consistently ranked among the Top 10 States for LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). In 2018, Colorado ranked sixth in the nation for LEED, a four-place jump from our 10th ranking the year before. Colorado is one of only two states, along with Illinois, to make USGBC’s Top 10 list every year since its inception in 2010.
The annual ranking is based on a state’s LEED-certified square feet of space per person in the previous calendar year. In 2017, Colorado came in at No. 10, after certifying a total of 76 commercial projects, equaling more than 11.4 million square feet and representing 2.27 square feet of certified space per person. In 2018, Colorado certified 114 projects, a jump of 38 projects from the year before, equaling more than 17 million square feet and representing 3.39 square feet of certified space per person.
Every project that achieved LEED certification last year, and all those that are registered, have reason to be proud. LEED spaces use less energy and water, save money for families, businesses and taxpayers, reduce carbon emissions and create a healthier environment for occupants and the community at large.
Cities lead by example
LEED also supports state and local strategies to mitigate climate change and increase sustainable development. Three cities in Colorado—Steamboat Springs, Durango and Fort Collins—have become LEED-certified through the LEED for Cities rating system.
The idea behind LEED for Cities is to revolutionize the way cities are planned, developed and operated. The program aims to improve the quality of life of citizens around the world by providing cities with a framework for measuring and managing the performance of water consumption, energy use, human experience, waste and transportation on a city-wide level.
The Town of Hudson, in Weld County, earned LEED Gold certification for its Town Hall building in 2018. Town officials selected a site for its new 10,000 square foot Town Hall where it can maximize green space, design for the quality of stormwater and reduce light pollution. Additional site considerations were made to encourage alternative transportation, and preferred parking was designated for low emitting and fuel-efficient vehicles. The roofing material is highly reflective to reduce the heat island effect and heat absorption. High-efficiency flow and flush fixtures were chosen to reduce demand for indoor potable water use. As a result, 15,000 gallons of water from indoor use are saved annually. A water-efficient irrigation system accounts for an additional 62,790 gallons saved each year.
[Related: Build green with net-zero water strategies]
From Hudson to Fort Collins to Denver and beyond, the diversity of project types and communities represented on Colorado’s 2018 list is significant. We look forward to another year of growth in 2019 as we work toward a better quality of life for everyone using the LEED green building rating system.
Patti Mason is the mountain west regional director for the U.S. Green Building Council. She can be reached at [email protected].