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Virginia is the Top Seed in Green Building

Published on Written by , Jason Hartke Posted in Community
Credit: taberandrew via Flickr
Credit: taberandrew via Flickr

With March Madness kicking off tomorrow, I thought it would be fitting to recognize one of the top seeds in green building, among states that is. Yes, the usual suspects like California and Maryland and Illinois are up there. But this year’s top seed is Virginia.

Earlier this week, we had an event at the amazing LEED Gold Police Headquarters in Alexandria to celebrate a green building milestone for the Commonwealth of Virginia. This unusual suspect in green building was recognized as one of the Top 10 States for LEED Buildings in 2012.

But Virginia didn’t just make the list, it was first among the states. I’ll say that again. Virginia was first in the nation for green building in 2012. And it’s a heck of an accomplishment. As USGBC National Capital Region Chapter Chairman Mike Babcock said at the event, LEED represents, “continually setting a higher expectation of what the built environment should offer and could offer.” Truly, Virginia has shown it is serious about raising that bar.

Over the course of last year, 170 LEED certified projects were completed in Virginia, representing 30 million square feet of real estate. In total, the state has 560 LEED certified projects, representing 74 million square feet. That’s the equivalent to 11 Pentagons. And there are another 1,200 LEED projects in the pipeline as registered projects, representing 224 million square feet.

While the country is losing $130 billion a year from leaky, inefficient buildings, Virginia, and cities like Alexandria, and counties like Arlington and places like Reston, are charting a path to cultivate green building, save energy, save residents money and create local jobs.

And there are a lot of leaders who deserve our recognition for making it happen.

Across the state, we have had wonderful elected officials, like Mayor Bill Euille of Alexandria, and Jay Fisette of Arlington County, and State Delegate Ken Plum, and so many others who have been active and ardent supporters of green building in the policy arena.

We have also benefited from courageous members of the private sector who step up time and time again, including out-in-front leaders like Vornado, HITT Contracting, Clark Construction, DPR Construction, Turner Construction, Centennial Contractors, and so many others.

And we are really thankful to an incredible community of building professionals in the state – the architects, engineers, building owners and managers, and all the experts from the trades. These folks are literally designing, constructing and operating the buildings of the future. And our chapter leaders in the state, like Emily English, the executive director of the National Capital Region Chapter, deserve a lot of credit for their work every day to support this community with the right tools and resources while concurrently advocating for sound policies and educating our future green builders.

In the end, it’s their collective work and vision that catapulted Virginia to the top of this list.

They say Virginia is for lovers. Well, I say Virginia is for leaders too. And the tremendous green building progress in this state proves it.

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Jason Hartke

Vice President, National Policy and Advocacy U.S. Green Building Council

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