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02-27-20 | Association News

USGBC Expands LEED for Cities and Communities Program

Receives $500,000 Grant from Bank of America

The grant supports 20 additional U.S. cities and communities addressing climate change, resilience and social equity challenges through LEED.

The U.S. Green Building Council, creators of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building rating system, announced that Bank of America has provided an additional $500,000 grant to the LEED for Cities and Communities program, which helps local governments pursue LEED certification and provides access to educational resources and technical support. This is Bank of America's third grant supporting the program, according to the council.

"Local governments see the on-the-ground effects of a changing climate and how it impacts people, businesses and communities. They also understand that taking action can lead to a stronger economy and better quality of life for their residents," said Mahesh Ramanujam, president and CEO, USGBC. "More than 160 cities and communities around the world are participating in LEED for Cities and Communities outside of the grant program and thanks to our partners at Bank of America, we are able to welcome even more into the LEED family. These cities and communities are committed to finding solutions that improve our living standard and are using LEED to ensure they are on a path of continuous improvement."

Cities and counties selected for the 2020 program represent more than 10 million Americans in urban and rural areas around the country. New city and community recipients include:

• Abington Township, Pa.
• Charlotte, N.C.
• Cleveland, Ohio

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• Costa Mesa, Calif.
• Fayetteville, Ark.
• Johnson County, Kan.
• Kane County, Ill.
• Louisville, Ky.
• Miami Beach, Fla.
• Miami-Dade County, Fla.
• Middleton, Wis.
• Nashua, N.H.
• Newark, N.J.
• Northampton, Mass.
• Orange County, Fla.
• Orange County, N.C.
• Palm Beach County, Fla.
• Santa Monica, Calif.
• Sarasota, Fla.
• Tampa, Fla.

Since 2018, Bank of America has provided $1.25 million to this program, supporting a total of 41 U.S. cities and communities to date as they pursue certification, according to USGBC. The company's 2019 grant helped 15 cities and its 2018 grant supports six cities and communities.

"USGBC is a leader in driving positive change through its LEED certification program, helping to create more sustainable solutions for cities, communities and businesses," said Alex Liftman, Global Environmental executive at Bank of America. "Our partnership with USGBC is part of our broader sustainable business strategy that includes working collaboratively with clients, partners, communities, employees and multiple stakeholders to address climate change and accelerate the path to a sustainable, low-carbon future."

According to USGBC's press release, more than 100 cities and communities have achieved LEED certification around the globe. LEED provides local governments a framework for implementing strategies to address challenges related to energy, water, waste, pollution and carbon emissions. In addition to environmental factors, the rating system takes into account social and economic indicators, such as health, equity, education and prosperity. LEED also helps local leaders hone metrics to evaluate initiatives; benchmark performance relative to peers; and educate and communicate progress to stakeholders. The rating system is flexible and can be applied to small and large cities, counties and other local governments, as well as economic areas, such as business improvement districts and neighborhoods.

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