Top States for LEED-Certified Multifamily Buildings
Where to find the national leaders, plus a roundup of outstanding green projects.
The built environment’s strides to fight climate change are measured in several green certification programs, with LEED being the most popular one in the U.S. To check on how the multifamily industry fared during the first half of 2022, by volume of LEED-certified projects, we analyzed data from the U.S. Green Building Council.
Overall, from January to June 2022, 123 multifamily communities across the nation received some form of LEED certification, up from the 106 multifamily properties that received distinctions during 2021’s first six months. Most of the LEED certifications awarded in 2022 through June were LEED Gold awards (64 projects), followed by LEED Silver (41 projects), LEED Platinum (11 projects) and the basic LEED certification (seven projects).
In this ranking, we’re displaying the top states for LEED-certified multifamily properties. The results are not surprising—California maintained the lead in both the volume of communities certified to a LEED level (32) and in the number of projects awarded the highest level of certification (6). Washington, D.C. came in second with 10 LEED-awarded communities, succeeded by Colorado, Maryland, New York (7 each).
California’s focus on sustainability and green practices is widespread across industries. The Golden State leads in LEED certifications awarded to office buildings, as well as for multifamily projects. In 2022 through June, 32 multifamily communities received LEED certifications, three more from the same period last year: 20 to the Gold level, and six each to the Platinum and Silver levels. Los Angeles led all cities in the state with seven projects awarded LEED designations, followed by San Francisco with three, and Santa Monica and Riverside with two each. LEED Platinum certifications went to properties in Los Angeles, Holtville, Palo Alto, San Jose, San Marcos and Santa Monica.
One notable project is Hartford Villa, a 101-unit fully affordable community in Los Angeles completed earlier this year. The project received LEED Platinum in January with a scorecard of 81 points. SRO Housing Corp. built it with aid from several construction loans amounting to nearly $39 million, according to Yardi Matrix data. The asset is located in the Westlake North submarket and is restricted to formerly homeless and veteran households.
2. Washington, D.C.
The District maintained second position, but the number of LEED-certified projects declined by three. Of the 10 projects LEED-certified, six received the Gold levels and four the Silver level. Moreover, eight are located in Washington and two in Arlington.
One of the notable projects to receive USGBC’s award is Morse, a 280-unit Lifestyle property in Washington finalized in 2021. In May, it received a LEED Gold certification with a scorecard of 60 points. Located in the Brentwood/Trinidad/Woodridge submarket, LCOR’s asset was built with aid from a $63 million construction loan issued by Webster Bank, according to Yardi Matrix. The property includes 19,800 square feet of retail space and 112 affordable units.
Colorado marked its first appearance in the top LEED-awarded states straight on the third position with seven LEED-certified properties during the first half of 2022—three to the Gold level, two to the Silver level and two with the basic LEED certification. Denver houses five of these projects, Colorado Springs and Westminster, one each.
One of the notable projects awarded LEED is Encore at Boulevard One, a 347-unit community on Denver’s East Colfax/Lowry Field/Stapleton submarket brought online in 2020. The asset received LEED Gold with a scorecard of 65.5 points in March. Embrey Partners built it with aid from a 56.4 million construction loan funded by Northwestern Mutual, according to Yardi Matrix. The property includes 1,000 square feet of retail space.
Technically, Maryland also ranks third, with seven projects awarded LEED during the first six months of 2022—four LEED Gold and three LEED Silver. Bethesda had three LEED-certified projects, and Germantown, Columbia, Gaithersburg and Silver Spring had one each. The state’s sustained performance puts it on track to outperform the progress registered in 2021, when 10 projects were awarded some level of LEED certification.
One of the recipients of the LEED Gold certification is The Montgomery, a 386-unit Lifestyle property in the Chevy Chase/Potomac submarket completed in 2002. It holds the LEED Gold award since April with a scorecard of 62 points. Yardi Matrix data shows that the asset has been under Fairfield Residential’s ownership since 2017, acquired for $63.8 million from Berkshire Residential Investments with aid from a $51 million CMBS loan funded by Fannie Mae.
5. New York
Also with seven projects LEED-certified between January and June, New York rounds out the top five ranking (sharing the third position with Maryland and Colorado). One property received LEED Platinum, four were awarded LEED Gold, one LEED Silver, and one was designated the basic LEED certification. The projects were spread out across the map, in Brooklyn, Rochester, the Bronx, Yonkers, Poughkeepsie and New Paltz. Last year, nine properties received a LEED award, so New York is also on track to surpass last year’s LEED multifamily volume.
The LEED Platinum designation is held by Zero Place in New Paltz since April, with a scorecard of 90.5 points. The 46-unit Net-Zero Development property has been designed to function at the highest levels of efficiency. Equipped with a geothermal system that covers heating, cooling and hot water needs, and separate energy recovery ventilators in each unit, residents are in complete control of their living quarters.