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January 24, 2024

Central Mass. has 1.4M sq. ft. of green buildings, as state ranks 3rd nationally

A three-story school building Image | Courtesy of Google Maps Templeton Elementary School is among the LEED-certified buildings in Central Massachusetts.

Massachusetts is among the top states in the country for environmentally friendly building, including a boost from a number of sustainable architecture projects in the central region of the state.

Massachusetts has 22.5 million square feet of space in buildings that are LEED-certified, with only New York and Illinois ranking higher, according to the U.S. Green Building Council, a nonprofit co-headquartered in Pennsylvania and Washington D.C. providing third-party verification of green buildings using the Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design Green Building Rating System.

Massachusetts has 3.206 certified square feet per capita, with 105 buildings LEED certified. 

Central Massachusetts buildings with LEED certification include the Templeton Elementary School building, the South High Community School building and the Veteran Affairs Community-based Outpatient Clinic in Worcester, and the Major Howard W. Beal School building in Shrewsbury, among others.

Overall, Central Massachusetts LEED-certified buildings contributed 1.4 million square feet to Massachusetts’ total, amounting to 6% of the state’s green building square footage. 

New York has 93.5 million square feet of green building space, while Illinois has 41.2 million. Washington D.C. has more green building space than Massachusetts, with 29.7 million square feet, but the federal district was not included in the Green Building Council’s official state rankings.

“The LEED certification system is a vital tool for both organizations and governments seeking to create better living, working, and learning spaces while addressing the urgent challenges of climate change, health, and affordability,” Peter Templeton, USGBC president and CEO, said in a press release Tuesday announcing the council’s findings. “The top 10 report highlights the remarkable progress of the public and private sectors towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions, health impacts, and operating costs in buildings across their states.”

First established in 1998, the LEED certification system is a rating system helping quantify the environmental responsibility of green buildings. In addition to being LEED certified, buildings can acquire additional silver, gold, or platinum certifications based on their design, construction, operation, and maintenance. 

The U.S. Green Building Council updated the ranking system in 2023 to create new credits and requirements addressing carbon emissions in buildings.

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