- A $500,000 grant from Bank of America will help the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) provide technical and financial assistance to 15 U.S. cities and communities seeking LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) certification, the group announced Wednesday.
- The cities in the 2019 LEED for Cities and Communities grant program, launched in partnership with Bank of America last year, will be the first to seek certification under LEED v4.1, the latest edition of its green building program. LEED v4.1 updates USGBC's standards, including special attention to residential projects meant to make it easier for communities to make the housing market more sustainable.
- The 15 cities in this year's grant program are: Albuquerque, NM; Baltimore; Birmingham, AL; Bloomington, IN; Cincinnati; Greensboro, NC; Las Vegas; Miami; Orange County, NY; Orlando, FL; Pueblo County, CO; Rancho Cucamonga, CA; Royal Oak, MI; Santa Fe, NM; and Shaker Heights, OH.
LEED certification has become the benchmark for green building codes, sought after by governments and private companies seeking to reduce their carbon footprint and reduce energy costs.
The LEED for Cities and Communities program applies that same approach to local governments, helping them measure citywide performance on metrics including energy, water, transportation, health and equitability.
A Bank of America grant last year supported certification assistance for six cities, and the latest grant will give the communities financial assistance, education resources and technical support.
Cities and communities have become sustainability leaders by setting long-range carbon emission goals, especially in the absence of federal leadership on climate change and clean energy.
A United Nations report in December said cities were "key implementers" of climate change policies, especially because they have more direct control over building codes, utility contracts and transportation policies. The LEED program seeks to support those efforts, with an eye towards holistic policies that improve the experience for residents.