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Illinois Places 2nd for Green Building Program

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The 2022 ranking of “green” buildings shows Illinois in 2nd place, demonstrating a commitment to LEED certification, according to the U.S. Green Building Council. LEED stands for “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design,” a standard created by the council and used worldwide to define best practices for healthy, high-performing green buildings. In 2022, the top 10 states, plus the District of Columbia, certified more than 1,200 projects. Lana Crouse, regional director of U.S. market transformation and development for the U.S. Green Building Council, said Illinois has been a front-runner in the green building industry for several years.

“Illinois has been consistently on that top 10 list and has been at the top five times,” Crouse reported. “They were in first place last year, they moved to second this year, but they had 91 projects in 2022, totaling more than 44 million square feet.”

Crouse noted the LEED rating system is the world’s most widely used green building program. In 2022, she added, the Green Building Council surpassed 100,000 LEED-certified projects globally, totaling more than 11 billion square feet. Crouse pointed out Illinois is a leader in green building because in 2021, state lawmakers passed the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act, which sets out goals and incentives to build environmentally and economically sound structures. She calls it the “most equitable climate law” in America.

“Through that and other policy changes, they really pushed it to be the first Midwest state to set climate-fighting targets for phasing out coal and natural gas,” Crouse recounted. “And really, truly favoring renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power.”

She added the Inflation Reduction Act signed by President Joe Biden last year will bring additional federal funding to states with green building initiatives. Crouse emphasized LEED certification involves rating operations in buildings, such as air filtration and other green practices within a building, which have been shown to benefit the workers inside.

“The great thing about LEED is it can be used for any building type,” Crouse stressed. “In a large city, you’re going to see more LEED buildings just because there are buildings in that area. But there are definitely a ton in the suburbs and rural areas as well.”

Mark Richardson Reporting

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