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Top green-building states: California lags behind others

March 2, 2011 | 11:34 am

Caltrans
California may have plenty of eco-friendly construction, but according to the U.S. Green Building Council, it’s not among the top 10 states with so-called green commercial and institutional structures.

The council developed the Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design certification program -- better known as LEED. The District of Columbia has more than 25 square feet of LEED-certified space per capita.

Nevada is next up, with nearly 11 square feet per person. Other states on the list include New Mexico, New Hampshire, Oregon, South Carolina, Washington, Illinois, Arkansas, Colorado and Minnesota.

California has plenty of buildings that fit the bill. The Caltrans building in downtown Los Angeles is certified LEED silver, with energy-saving features such as a sheet of photovoltaic cells.

More than 40,000 projects currently participate in the commercial and institutional LEED ratings, making up more than 7.9 billion square feet. The Green Building Council also runs a residential LEED program, with nearly 10,000 homes certified.

Buildings in the U.S. are responsible for 39% of the country’s carbon dioxide emissions and for consuming 40% of the energy and 13% of the water used.

Earlier this month, a $100-million class-action lawsuit against the council was scaled down to just four plaintiffs, all working in design and construction. The complaint alleges that most LEED buildings aren’t as energy efficient as they’re made out to be and that the council often fails to verify structures’ supposed green benefits.

RELATED:

L.A. business leans green

First in the nation: California adopts mandatory green building code

-- Tiffany Hsu

Photo: The Caltrans headquarters in downtown L.A. has motion-activated ceiling lights. Credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times

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