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New York ranks third in US for ‘green’ buildings: What does it mean?

  • / Updated:
  • Edwin Viera 

New York ranked third on a list of the top 10 states for green buildings in the U.S. The report from the U.S. Green Building Council found 142 projects in New York were LEED certified in 2022, equaling 3.17 million square feet.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, green building is the creation of structures which are environmentally responsible and resource-efficient during the building’s life, including schools, office buildings, and residential homes and apartment buildings.

One notable project in New York is Terminal Four at JFK International Airport, which was recertified with LEED Platinum status.

Monique Owens, mid-Atlantic and New England regional director for the U.S. Green Building Council, described why the project has been a leader in green buildings.

“That project was certified platinum, and that project was a recertification,” Owens explained. “Initially in 2017, Terminal 4 became the first existing airport in the U.S. to receive LEED Gold certification by USGBC for operations and maintenance. “

Other LEED-certified airport terminals are located at international airports in Atlanta, Boston and San Francisco.

New York is working to incorporate more environmental friendliness into construction projects. In early 2022, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced a plan to build more than 2 million climate-friendly homes in the state.

With many states establishing plans and goals to combat climate change, Owens feels green building can be a crucial tool in developing more climate-smart infrastructure.

Although 2022 saw a high number of projects and plenty of growth, there is still room for improvement. Owens noted the potential for other states to improve their rankings begins at the local level.

Rhiannon Jacobson, managing director of U.S. market transformation and development for the council, said there is more work to come as the LEED program grows.

“While we celebrate our achievements, there’s a lot more room for more activity,” Jacobson pointed out. “That is always going to be our goal. We want to make sure, and if you look at the USGBC’s mission, we want to make sure that we’re bringing green buildings to everyone, and really ensuring that we are meeting urgent needs and critical pointed in things like the climate-change crisis.”

Jacobsen added buildings have to meet a set of criteria before they can be LEED certified. Some include the air quality of the building, how much energy and water it is using, and the amount of waste it creates.

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