The District of Columbia led the nation in commercial- and institutional-building space certified under the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC’s) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating systems per person in 2011, the USGBC recently announced.

“Looking past the bricks and mortar, people are at the heart of what buildings are all about,” Rick Fedrizzi, president, chief executive officer, and founding chair of the USGBC, said. “Examining the per-capita value of LEED square footage in these states allows us to focus on what matters most: the human element of green buildings.”

Based on 2010 U.S. Census information, the District of Columbia had 31.5 sq ft of LEED-certified space per person in 2011, followed by Colorado, with 2.74 sq ft of LEED-certified space per person.

“This is a great accomplishment for the D.C. metropolitan region and a testament to the drive, commitment, and leadership of all those who live, work, and play in our community,” Mike Babcock, board chair of the National Capital Region chapter of the USGBC, said. “We also realize there is still more to do and hope to effectively guide the effort by engaging, educating, and encouraging the dialogue around the value of sustainability.”

Other top states included Illinois, Virginia, and Washington, with 2.69, 2.42, and 2.18 sq ft of LEED-certified space per person, respectively.

“Being in the top three is a testament to the diversity of stakeholders from across Illinois who understand the significant environmental, economic, and social benefits related to LEED certification,” Doug Widener, executive director of the Illinois chapter of the USGBC, said.

The top LEED states per capita, including the District of Columbia, for 2011 are (square footage of space LEED certified in 2011 and space per capita in parentheses):

1. District of Columbia (18,954,022, 31.50)

2. Colorado (13,803,113, 2.74)

3. Illinois (34,567,585, 2.69)

4. Virginia (19,358,193, 2.42)

5. Washington (14,667,558, 2.18)

6. Maryland (11,970,869, 2.07)

7. Massachusetts (13,087,625, 2.00)

8. Texas (50,001,476, 1.99)

9. California (71,551,296, 1.92)

10. New York (36,538,981, 1.89)

11. Minnesota (9,591,445, 1.81)

Notable projects certified in 2011 include the Treasury Building in Washington, D.C., the oldest LEED-certified project in the world; LEED Platinum Casey Middle School in Boulder, Colo.; the iconic Wrigley Building in Chicago; Frito-Lay’s Lynchburg, Va., manufacturing facility, which earned LEED Gold for existing-building operations and maintenance; the LEED Silver Hard Rock Cafe in Seattle; Anne Arundel Medical Center in Annapolis, Md.; the Yawkey Distribution Center of The Greater Boston Food Bank in Boston; the LEED Gold Austin Convention Center in Austin, Texas; San Francisco International Airport’s LEED Gold Terminal 2; the LEED Platinum Hotel Skylar in Syracuse, N.Y.; and LEED Platinum Marquette Plaza in Minneapolis.