Top States for LEED-Certified Multifamily Properties in 2021

4 min read

According to USGBC data, 196 communities across the country received LEED certification in the past year.

The multifamily sector has experienced significant growth in the past year, as constant demand for space pushed new supply. The health crisis reinforced the need for clean air within both apartments and communal areas within multifamily properties, while the prevalence of remote work made residents more mindful of their energy consumption. Sustainable multifamily communities are treated more and more as a requirement rather than an exception.


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In 2021, the USGBC awarded LEED certifications to 196 multifamily communities across the country, 19 of which were awarded basic LEED certification, while 65 communities received LEED Silver certification, 82 received LEED Gold certification and 30 communities were awarded LEED Platinum. The list below highlights the most-awarded states in terms of numbers of multifamily communities.

Rank State Number of Communities
1 California 47
2 Washington, D.C. 20
3 New York 18
4 Massachusetts 12
5 Maryland 10

5. Maryland

East of Market Phase II in Frederick, Md
East of Market Phase II

Starting off the list is Maryland, which ranked fifth with 10 communities receiving a LEED certification in 2021. Two communities received basic LEED certification, four communities received LEED Silver certification, three received LEED Gold and one community was awarded LEED Platinum certification.

The only project in the state to be Platinum-certified is Phase II of East of Market in Frederick, Md. The five-story building came online in the first quarter of 2021 and features green amenities such as integrated garages equipped with Level 2 charging stations, on-site recycling and eco-friendly elevators.

The 50-unit property is roughly 50 miles from both Baltimore and Washington, D.C. Phase I of the community received LEED Gold certification at the end of 2015. The community features one- and two-bedroom apartments.

4. Massachusetts

Street view Clippership on the Wharf in Boston
Clippership on the Wharf

The state received certification for 12 multifamily communities in 2021. Five communities received LEED Silver certification, five received LEED Gold and two communities were awarded the LEED Platinum certification.

The largest project to be certified in the past year is Lendlease’s Clippership Wharf in East Boston. The waterfront community received LEED Platinum certification at the end of 2021, after previously being LEED Silver-certified in 2019. The property includes 284 units, with one-, two- and three-bedroom options.

The property features a first-of-its-kind “living shoreline” restoration, which includes salt marshes, rocky beaches, wildlife habitats and an on-site kayak rental center. This protects the property during extra high tides or storms, with flood barriers that can quickly be slotted in place in advance of a major storm. Another green feature of Clippership Wharf is the ability to generate enough solar energy to power the equivalent of 35-40 homes a year.

3. New York

Street view of 350 Clarkson Ave in Brooklyn
350 Clarkson Ave.

In 2021, New York state received LEED certification for 18 communities. Out of the total number, one community became certified to LEED Platinum, eight became LEED Gold certified, seven were awarded LEED Silver certification and two communities received basic LEED certification.

The only community to be LEED-Platinum certified in the past year was Hudson Cos.’ 350 Clarkson Ave. in Brooklyn. Dubbed The Lois, the 250-unit property offers units ranging from studios to three-bedroom apartments.

Design by CetraRuddy, the community participated in the NYSERDA’s Multifamily Performance Program. The construction of the eight-story asset included environmentally conscious features such as energy-efficient building systems and components, high-recycled content and renewable materials, and reduction and recycling of construction debris. Sustainable elements within the units include built-in solar shades, as well as central heating and air conditioning through an energy-efficient VRF system.

2. Washington, D.C.

Street view RiverPoint in Washington D.C.
RiverPoint

The runner-up on the list received LEED certifications for 20 communities. Out of all the recipients, two communities earned basic LEED certifications, 10 became LEED Silver certified, seven communities received LEED Gold certifications and only one community received LEED Platinum certification.

The largest multifamily project to be certified in Washington, D.C., in 2021 was RiverPoint, which earned LEED Gold at the end of the year. A partnership between Akridge Real Estate Services, Jefferson Apartment Group, Orr Partners and Redbrick Development transformed the former U.S. Coast Guard office building into a mixed-use development with 480 units and 72,000 square feet of retail. The property features studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments.

The waterfront community was designed to recycle and reuse construction materials, as well as existing structures efficiently. Additionally, the property includes a solar-paneled roof, a plumbing system that reduces water use by 20 percent and water-saving toilets.

1. California

Street view Millennium Santa Monica
Millennium Santa Monica

The Golden State topped the list with twice as many certified communities than any other entry on the list. From the total 47 communities to be certified in 2021, one earned basic LEED certification, 11 communities became LEED-Silver certified, 20 became LEED-Gold certified and 15 received LEED Platinum certification.

Millennium Santa Monica in Santa Monica, Calif., was the largest multifamily project to receive LEED Platinum certification last year. Dinerstein Cos. and Heitman developed the 356-unit community on the site the former Santa Monica Trailer Park using passive solar design principles. Sustainable features include rooftop photovoltaic panels, drought-tolerant plantings, daylight sensors for lighting control, grey water reuse and drywells that harvest excess water from hard surfaces.

The community offers studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, with unit features such as advanced air filtration and ventilation systems, energy efficient lighting, low flow water fixtures and programmable thermostats.

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