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Top 10 Greenest Office Markets in the U.S.

by Point2 Editorial Staff
5 min. read

Office spaces have evolved considerably over the years, with sustainable efforts transforming them entirely. In fact, as many as half of the major U.S. office projects due for completion in 2022 have a keen focus on responsible energy consumption, human health and minimizing adverse effects on the environment.

With this in mind, 42Floors looked at the greenest office markets in the U.S. over the past decade. Using the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standard as a guideline, they studied 93 major cities to see which are the most sustainable in terms of office space. In this brief wrap-up, we’ll showcase their findings regarding the top ten:

1. Washington, D.C.

washington dc

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Washington D.C. took the top spot with just under 64% of green office space throughout the city. Between 2010 and 2020, the area has seen 13.6 million square feet of certified and proposed LEED space added to its inventory, the third largest volume on this list.

Of that total, over 3.5 million square feet of office space was certified at LEED Platinum level, the third highest figure in the U.S. And an additional 9.2 million square feet was proposed or certified at LEED Gold level, which also saw Washington D.C. rank third for this metric.

2. San Francisco, CA

san francisco

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Coming in second, San Francisco saw a total of 63.63% green office spaces throughout the city at the end of 2020. An additional 22 LEED-certified buildings were added to the inventory over the decade, covering nearly 7 million square feet of new space.

More than half of that, 4.5 million square feet, was certified at LEED Platinum level. This saw the city take second place for this metric.

3. Chicago, IL


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Rounding off the top three, Chicago wasn’t far behind, with 63.26% of the total office space in the city rated as green at the close of the decade. Over the past ten years, 13.4 million square feet of new, LEED-certified space was added to the city’s total green inventory of 111 million square feet.

Of that space, 2.5 million square feet were rated at LEED Platinum level, the fifth highest in the country, 8.5 million square feet were rated LEED Gold level, the fourth highest on the list, and 2.3 million square feet achieved LEED Silver certification, the third highest for this metric.

4. Boston, MA


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With 58.85% of green office developments by the end of 2020, Boston saw 6.5 million square feet of new LEED-rated space added to its inventory between 2010 and 2020. This increased the total inventory to 114 green office buildings across 44.2 million square feet.

More than 2.6 million square feet of this space was certified at LEED Platinum level, seeing Boston take fourth place for this metric.

5. Seattle, WA


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Just under half (49.88%) of Seattle’s office space was LEED-compliant by the end of 2020. This was after an increase of 10.3 million square feet across 41 new green buildings, bringing the total to 39 million square feet.

Seattle ranked seventh in terms of LEED Platinum certified office space, with almost 1.8 million square feet making the grade. In addition, 7 million square feet of the new green assets added to Seattle’s inventory were proposed or certified at LEED Gold level, the fifth highest for this metric.

6. Denver, CO


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By the end of 2020, Denver’s office space was just over 47% green, a two-percentage-point increase from 2010 when 45% of the city’s inventory was LEED certified. Almost 29 million square feet of the Mile High City’s office space was LEED compliant at the end of the decade, representing a rise of 5.1 million square feet. In addition, more than half (2.8 million square feet) was LEED Gold certified, seeing Denver rank ninth for this metric.

7. Oakland, CA


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Despite being the smallest city by a fair margin in the top ten, Oakland beat larger urban centers in terms of green office space by percentage. By the end of the decade, 44.6% of the city’s office space was LEED certified. This represents around 8.2 million square feet over 34 green and sustainable buildings.

8. Los Angeles, CA

los angeles

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In LA, just under 40% of the total office space was LEED certified by the end of 2020. Throughout the decade, the city added an extra 4.6 million square feet of green stock to its inventory, bringing the total to 45.6 million square feet over 120 buildings. Almost all this extra green office space (4 million square feet) was LEED Gold certified, the seventh largest expansion regarding this metric.

9. Houston, TX


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Not far behind LA, Houston boasted 39.3% of green office inventory by the end of the decade. This was after developers added an extra 18.7 million square feet of green office space to the city’s portfolio, the second-largest amount of total green construction among the surveyed cities.

Houston also boasted the most LEED Platinum certified projects, with a whopping 5 million square feet. Additionally, it ranked second in terms of both LEED Gold and Silver certified office spaces built over the decade, at 9.3 and 3.7 million square feet, respectively.

10. New York City, NY


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The Big Apple also made the top ten, with 38.45% of its total office space LEED-certified — no mean feat considering that NYC has the largest office market in the U.S. Between 2010 and 2020, 25.7 million square feet of green office space was delivered, bringing the total to more than 207 million square feet.

NYC took the top spot for the most LEED Gold certified office space built over the decade, with a whopping 18 million square feet. It also ranked first in terms of LEED Silver certified space, with 4.8 million square feet.



Interested in the office or shared spaces market in the areas mentioned in this study? Check out the links below:

Office space for rent in Denver

Coworking in Denver

Office space for rent in Oakland

Office space for rent in Los Angeles

Coworking in Los Angeles

Office space for rent in Houston

Coworking in Houston

Office space for rent in New York City

Coworking in New York City

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