How LEED Certifications Fared in the Office Sector in 2023

More than 400 projects were certified or re-certified during the first half of the year.

Block 185 at 601 W. Second St. in Austin, Texas, received LEED Platinum certification in January 2023, with a scorecard of 82 points. Image courtesy of CommercialEdge

The U.S. volume of LEED-certified office space expanded by 146.5 million square feet across 461 projects in 34 states (including Washington, D.C.) during the first half of 2023. Of these, 129.8 million square feet across 402 projects allowed their data to be public, according to the U.S. Green Building Council. Publicly available results, which we will be querying, include new certifications (56.8 million square feet across 266 projects) and recertifications (73 million square feet across 136 projects).

Of the 402 LEED certifications for office projects, 220 were awarded to projects located in just five states (including Washington, D.C.): California, New York, Texas, the District of Columbia and Georgia. These accounted for 74 million square feet of LEED-certified and -recertified office space, representing nearly 60 percent of the entire certified portfolio of office properties in 2023 through June.

California remained the leader in USGBC’s green program by number of projects in 2023 through June, with 63 projects receiving a level of LEED award—42 new certifications and 21 recertifications. Not far behind came New York with 57—33 new LEED certifications and 24 recertifications. Texas office owners and developers showed more interest in the green program than their counterparts in the multifamily sector, coming in third rank with 41 LEED certifications—29 new projects joined the ranks, and 12 other projects renewed their commitment with the USGBC. Were it a state, the District of Columbia would be next in line with 33 LEED projects—19 new certifications and 14 recertifications. Georgia rounded out the top five with 26 overall LEED awards—22 new and 4 renewals.

Honorable mentions for LEED awarded certifications go to Colorado: 22 projects—nine new and 13 recertifications; Virginia: 21 projects (15, six), Massachusetts with 20 (12 and eight), Illinois with 17 (12 and five), Washington with 16 (eight and eight), Florida with 12 (11 and one), Pennsylvania with 10 (seven and three) and Maryland with 10 projects (six and four).

By level of LEED certification, the composition of the project volume awarded with USGBC recognition was heavily tilted in favor of LEED Gold, with 246 projects, accounting for roughly 61 percent of the volume recorded during the year's first six months. LEED Platinum was awarded to 34 projects—18 new and 16 recertifications, LEED Silver went to 78 projects—72 new and 6 recertifications, and 49 new projects received the basic LEED certification.

Notable projects with the highest scorecards—and LEED Platinum holders—were Muhlenberg College Fahy Commons (88 points), a 20,426-square-foot asset in Allentown, Pa.; Genesys Menlo Park (84 points), a 23,165-square-foot project in Menlo Park, Calif., owned by Presidio Bay Ventures, and Zions Bancorporation (83 points) in Midvale, Utah. The largest projects awarded LEED Platinum in 2023 through June were: The 1,153,742-square-foot asset at 1 Congress St. in Boston, Mass., with a scorecard of 80 points; Green Water Block 185 project, an 825,922-square-foot at 601 West Second St. in Austin, Texas, with a scorecard of 82 points; and the Zions Bancorporation in Utah.

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