Oregon drops out of Top 10 LEED states
By Christina Williams
Sustainable Business Oregon editor
Portland State University's Lincoln Hall was one Oregon project that earned its LEED seal in 2011.
After earning a fifth place finish last year, Oregon dropped out of the list of top 10 states for LEED-certified projects, according to a report compiled by the U.S. Green Building Council.
It's an embarrassing whiff for a state that has consistently led the ranks of green builders for the last decade.
This is the second year that the U.S. Green Building Council, which administers the requirements for LEED certification, has ranked states according to the number of newly certified LEED space per capita.
A push for LEED certification for federal buildings — and a relatively small population — propelled Washington, D.C., to the top of the list for 2011. The District of Columbia had 31.5 square feet of space earn LEED certification per resident in 2011.
Colorado ranked No. 2 for 2011 with 2.74 square-feet of new LEED per capita. Illinois ranked No. 3 with 2.69 square feet per capita of new LEED space. Virginia and Washington rounded out the top five with 2.42 square feet and 2.18 square feet respectively.
Oregon finished 2011 at No. 12 with 1.8 square feet of new LEED space per person. That's down significantly from 4.07 square feet per person certified in 2010, which earned the state a respectable fifth-place finish.
Richard Manning, managing principal at Portland-based Green Building Services, sees several factors that are likely driving down Oregon's LEED output.
A slow economy has taken its toll on the kind of developer-driven projects likely to go for LEED certification, Manning said. In addition, Oregon's gutting of its Business Energy Tax Credit program and the uncertainty that preceded it may have discouraged some builders from going for LEED certification.
"Also, the popularity of LEED has spread around the world. There are just a lot more and a lot larger projects right now," Manning said. "Oregon was an early adopter."
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