Utah makes list of top 10 states when it comes to green buildings

Posted at 10:15 PM, Jan 30, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-31 00:15:12-05

SALT LAKE CITY -- When it comes to elections, Utah is one of the reddest states in the nation, but, as Fox 13’s Bob Evans tells us, the Beehive State is one of the greenest as well.

Utah recently made the top ten for states with buildings meeting Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design requirements.

California has a lot more green buildings than Utah, but it’s just three spots ahead of Utah, which comes in tenth on the LEED building list.

"It's number 10 on the list for the nation as far as LEED certified building square footage per capita, so it's 1.6 square feet of LEED certified buildings for every person in the state,” said Dustin Campbell, a business development coordinator for the ETC Group.

To get LEED certification, buildings must meet low energy and water use standards, have sustainable practices (such as recycling) and promote alternative ways for employees to get to and from work.

"Having each building use less energy, and having all of the ways that we commute to the building use less energy, then ultimately that helps promote fewer emissions for the whole region, which helps everybody,” Campbell said.

There are 31 Utah buildings that made the list, and topping it is the Salt Lake City Public Safety Building, which has the highest possible rating: LEED Platinum.

The new Ballet West building gets a LEED gold rating, as does the new federal courthouse in downtown Salt Lake City. Other gold-ranked buildings include Rice Eccles Stadium and the Utah Football Center.

All new buildings at the University of Utah must attain LEED status, and the same is true for all Salt Lake City and County buildings, as well as structures built by Intermountain Health Care.

Indoor air quality is a major factor in getting LEED certified, and just one part of that standard is to have a no smoking policy.

It costs more to build a LEED building, but often those costs can be recovered.

"Sometimes there's an upfront cost that has a payback later, and so in the end, you could save a lot of money by designing a building to be efficient, and then the long-term utility costs, if they're less than that, it’s an investment payoff,” Campbell said.

The three states on the green building list are Illinois, Maryland and Massachusetts.