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Chicago Leads U.S. in ‘Green’ Apartments

May 2019

Seattle, Washington, D.C., Austin, Houston, Dallas also highly rated.

Sustainable construction seems focused on areas with potential for bigger impact in improving the standard of living—urban hubs. When narrowed to city-level accomplishments in sustainable development, Chicago is the leading market when it comes to available sustainable or “green” apartments (20,600 in 68 large residential buildings), closely followed by Seattle (19,800) and Washington, D.C. (13,200), reports Yardi’s RENTCafé.

Illinois is the top state for overall green construction, offering a total of 68.13 million square feet of space certified last year alone—non-residential buildings included. In 2018, the City of Chicago became LEED-certified for sustainable building efforts because its largest buildings reduced emissions by almost 20 percent.

Seattle stays true to its colors with approximately 22 percent of all apartments being sustainable. It is first runner-up with nearly 20,000 green certified units in 94 residential buildings and boasts the largest number of green buildings of any U.S. city.

Washington, D.C., ranked third with a total 13,200 units in 54 green rental housing communities last year. With an advanced policy in renewable energy and building efficiency deployment, the District has the highest number of LEED buildings per capita. Not only that, D.C. has been Platinum-certified since 2017.

The rest of the Top 10 cities with most eco-friendly apartments are dominated by Texas: Austin, Houston and Dallas.

McLean, Va., enjoys the biggest share of green apartments in the U.S. — 47 percent of its apartments are certified sustainable. Next are Evanston, Ill., and Cambridge, Mass., with 30 percent and 29 percent, respectively.

Portland, Ore., has the second-largest residential green share in the country after Seattle — about 20 percent of what has been built there since 2009 is sustainable. As of 2018, the city offers more than 11,500 green apartments in 75 sustainable residential buildings.

Green apartment construction overall has fallen in each of the past three years: 50,300 in 2016 to 45,600 in 2017 and 42,900 in 2018.