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Maryland in 7th place in building environmental design rankings

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation Building in Annapolis is an example of a LEED-certified building. (File)

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation Building in Annapolis is an example of a LEED-certified building. (File)

Maryland ranked seventh in the nation in terms of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, green building.

The U.S. Green Building Council released its national rankings on Wednesday. The organization called Maryland one of the leaders in environmentally sound building in 2016, citing the 2.33 square feet of certified space per resident and 104 LEED-certified projects.

“Maryland has been a phenomenal trailblazer in green building and LEED certifications and is leading the way toward a more sustainable future for generations to come. The success of LEED could not happen without support from states likes Maryland that believe in being environmentally and socially responsible and have committed to transforming the built environment,” Mahesh Ramanujam, president and CEO of U.S. Green Building Council, said in a statement.

Essentially LEED’s rating system measures a building’s impact on the environment. The rankings are based on U.S. Census data, according to the council, and commercial and institutional green buildings that were certified last year.

LEED projects do have critics. Organizations such as the Environmental Policy Alliance, which has a stated goal on its website of “uncovering the funding and hidden agendas behind environmental activist groups,” question whether LEED certified buildings produce more environmentally friendly outcomes.

“LEED-certified buildings only have to meet a certain energy-efficient standard based on projected use and a USGBC-approved energy and water modeling computer program. Once the building is occupied, it does not have to submit data of energy and water usage to the USGBC to verify the building is actually water- or energy-efficient,” the organization argues on its LEED Exposed website.

The U.S. Green Building Council lists Parks & People at Auchentoroly Terrace in Baltimore, Green Street Academy in Baltimore and One Washingtonian Center in Gaithersburg as notable LEED projects in Maryland in 2016.

According to the council’s Green Building Economic Impact Study, LEED construction should result in $9.64 billion in state Gross Domestic Product and support 110,000 jobs between 2015 and 2018.

Massachusetts, Colorado and Illinois ranked as the top states for green building in 2016.

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