How Green Building Is Changing Home Construction

Jason Hargraves
Written by Jason Hargraves
Updated June 15, 2021
These adaptable shading screens on display at a recent Solar Decathlon event improve energy performance in response to the exterior climate conditions. (Photo courtesy of the U.S. Department of Energy)

D.C., adjoining states top list for environmental efforts

Get quotes from up to 3 pros!
Enter a zip below and get matched to top-rated pros near you.

The West Coast has nothing on the Mid-Atlantic region when it comes to building environmentally friendly homes.

In fact, Washington, D.C., leads the nation. Sort of.

The U.S. Green Building Council recently released its annual list of states with the most new LEED-certified development per capita, and, if D.C. were a state, it would be far and away the leader. Virginia and Maryland both made the Top 5.

LEED stands for Leadership in Energy Environmental Design.

“Every story about a green building is a story about people,” says Rick Fedrizzi, CEO and founding chair of the building council. “LEED-certified buildings and the innovations they have driven contribute substantially to our national economic growth, create jobs and improve the quality of life in the communities where they are found.”

Using native plants around your home can be one way to keep heating costs down. (Photo courtesy of the U.S. Department of Energy)

Going green in your new home or remodeling project

Talk to a highly rated local builder about incorporating energy-efficient designs into your next home. They, along with remodeling companies, are a good source if you're looking to make a green upgrade in your current home.

That could include something as simple as purchasing new energy-efficient kitchen appliances or going large-scale by installing solar panels.

If you’re not sure how your home performs when it comes to energy consumption, consult a local energy auditor.

To make the list, the U.S. Green Building Council looked at both commercial and institutional green projects that were certified throughout 2014.

Solar wooden canopies protect your house from sun and wind. They also generate electric energy and hot water via attached solar-thermal panels. (Photo courtesy of the U.S. Department of Energy)

How high did your state rank?

Maryland ranked No. 3, with 132 projects, or 2.33 square feet per resident. Virginia came in No. 4, with 150 projects, or 2.33 square feet per resident.

The District had 102 projects that were LEED-certified in 2014, or more than 17.72 million square feet. On that basis, D.C. has per capita LEED-certification of 29.44 square feet.

"The continued strong performances of Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia have helped the Mid-Atlantic region remain the epicenter of green building across the country," the Green Building Council says.

For more information about building a home and what you should look for in a contractor or remodeler, check out his helpful guide.

Need professional help with your project?
Get quotes from top-rated pros.