USGBC Taps Cities for 2022 LEED Leadership Program

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 20, 2022


The U.S. Green Building Council recently announced 15 cities and counties to participate in the 2022 LEED for Cities Local Government Leadership Program.

Since 2017, the program—backed by USGBC and the Bank of America—has reportedly contributed more than $2 million to provide peer-to-peer networking opportunities, technical assistance and access to educational resources as well as waive USGBC membership, and LEED registration and certification fees.

To accomplish these efforts, the partnership brings together diverse local governments from around the country.

“Local governments have the ability to make a big impact and serve as an example of sustainability achievement,” said Peter Templeton, President and CEO at USGBC. “This year’s cohort of cities and counties are looking to create responsible, sustainable plans for natural systems, energy, water, waste, transportation and many other factors. Along with Bank of America, we are looking forward to these 15 localities’ pursuit of LEED for Cities certification.”

This year, the program has been reported to raise the bar in that it will also be supporting the program’s first LEED for Cities Equity Fellow, a new position at USGBC that aims to advance tangible action on social equity in each participating city or county.

This new effort will involve the production of training and case studies by staff and consultants, while local leaders set goals and tangible actions to be completed over the program year.

In addition, the 2022 program will focus on the LEED for Cities’ Quality of Life category, which features topics like environmental justice; civic and community engagement; public health; education; jobs and housing affordability.

“USGBC is a leader in supporting environmentally sustainable buildings, cities and communities and we’re proud to build on our partnership of more than 25 years,” said Rich Brown, Environmental Program Director at Bank of America. “Creating thriving, resilient communities where residents have sustainable places to work and live meets this moment for climate action and building healthy living environments.”

The 15 governments selected for 2022 reportedly represent more than three million Americans and a land area approximately the size of the state of Delaware. They include:

  • Amesbury, Massachusetts;
  • Cape Canaveral, Florida;
  • Columbia, South Carolina;
  • Cutler Bay, Florida;
  • Davidson, North Carolina;
  • Dayton, Ohio;
  • Fort Lauderdale, Florida;
  • Henderson, Nevada;
  • Issaquah, Washington;
  • Ithaca, New York;
  • La Crescent, Minnesota;
  • Oakland County, Michigan;
  • Reno, Nevada;
  • State College, Pennsylvania; and
  • Tucson, Arizona.

The USGBC adds that more than 130 cities and communities have achieved LEED certification.

Recent News from USGBC

Back in November, the USGBC announced the results of the 2021 World Green Building Trends report, revealing an increased commitment to green building and other strategies aimed at reducing energy consumption and carbon emissions.

More than 1,200 industry professionals— including engineers, architects/designers, contractors, owners, developers, inventors and consultants— around the world were surveyed for the report.

In its fourth edition of the study, USGBC and Dodge Data reported that many of the key findings haven’t changed, even despite the state of upheaval. The commitment to increasing green building efforts continues to remain strong with respondents planning to use more green building products and systems.

While there are many business drivers reported to be pushing green practices, the report also noted on social factors. Interestingly, the report indicates that creating healthier buildings is not just a response to COVID-19, but is part of the ongoing commitment by green practitioners.

According to the report, the level of green building activity (all respondents) in 2021 is as follows:

  • 24% of respondents report that 1-15% of their projects are green;
  • 19% of respondents report that 16-30% of their projects are green;
  • 16% of respondents report that 31-60% of their projects are green;
  • 28% of respondents report that more than 60% of their projects are green; and
  • 13% of respondents report that they are exploring green options, with no current involvement.

Regarding environmental reasons, over three quarters of the respondents (87%) reported that all of the following were important in green building: reduction in energy consumption, lower greenhouse gas emissions, improved indoor air quality, reduction in water consumption and the protection of natural resources.

Industry professionals also reported on the financial benefits of green building. According to the report, the average reduction in operating costs for the first 12 months in a new green building is 10.5% and five-year cost savings are 16.9%. Green renovations and retrofits have even greater performance globally at 11.5% and 17%, respectively.

Owners also reported that new and retrofit green building projects see an increase in asset value by more than 9%. While the rank of importance varied between owners/investors and architects/engineers/contractors when it involved increasing green building projects, the overall rank of importance for benefiting business was as follows:

  • Lower operating costs;
  • Improved user/occupant health and well-being;
  • Future-proofing assets;
  • Education of users/occupants about sustainability; and
  • Documentation/certification providing quality assurance.

To better understand the factors that encouraged respondents to engage with green building in their current practices, the report also asked to rate a series of social reasons for building green. The top five reasons were as follows:

  • Promotes improved occupant health and well-being;
  • Encourages sustainable business practices;
  • Increased worker productivity;
  • Supports the domestic economy; and
  • Creates a sense of community.

Other key highlights in the report included:

  • Over half of those doing a majority of green projects plan to incorporate resilience strategies into their projects in the next five years;
  • Most respondents (82%) are at least aware of the concept of embodied carbon– emissions from manufacture, transportation, installation, maintenance and disposal of building materials– with contractors and owners as less familiar with embodied carbon than architects and engineers;
  • The vast majority (79%) of those building green use at least one metric to track green building performance, an increase of five points since 2018; and
  • About half of respondents engage in green renovation/retrofit projects, with most investors engaged in this work.

The report notes that while overall the participants were consistent with studies conducted in 2012, 2015 and 2018, there was one exception: Previously, those doing more than 50% horizontal construction (e.g. roads, bridges, water treatment plants, etc.) were screened out. However, they were included in this study for applicable questions, representing about 8% of the total respondents.

A full copy of the report can be downloaded here.

   

Tagged categories: Color + Design; Design - Commercial; Good Technical Practice; Government; Green building; Green design; LEED; LEED v4; LEED v4; NA; North America; Program/Project Management; Sustainability; United States Green Building Council (USGBC)

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