City Of Santa Fe Earns Sustainability Certification

The New Mexico city is only the second in the world to achieve LEED Gold status under the USGBC's more stringent LEED v4.1 rating system.

The City of Santa Fe, NM has been awarded LEED® Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council® (USGBC ) for its exceptional performance in fostering a sustainable, resilient city. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is the most widely used rating system in the world recognizing sustainability achievement and leadership. Santa Fe joins a global network of more than 100 LEED-certified cities and communities. It is the second city in the world to achieve LEED Gold under the newest, more stringent LEED v4.1 rating system.

Santa Fe, NM
(Credit: Getty Images/Sean Pavone)

“All of us know how much sustainability means to Santa Fe and to our way of life,” said Mayor Alan Webber. “This recognition as only the second city to achieve LEED Gold status means that the whole world knows it, too. This award speaks volumes about our community and the values we hold dear. Way to go, Santa Fe!”

Santa Fe was rated on its performance in key sustainability metrics that include energy, water, waste, transportation, education, health, safety, prosperity, and equitability. The rating applies to everything within city limits, not only city operations. These metrics closely mirror the performance areas outlined in the Sustainable Santa Fe 25-Year Plan. The analysis formed a useful framework to gather baseline data for implementing the Plan’s strategies.

LEED for Cities GOLD – Points Awarded vs. Possible (Breakdown)

Santa Fe, NM“A sustainable city strives to offer its residents a higher living standard. A LEED city takes action and delivers measurable outcomes that improves overall quality of life for residents,” said Mahesh Ramanujam, president and CEO, USGBC. “Given the extraordinary importance of climate protection, building more resilient cities is crucial and Santa Fe’s LEED certification is a symbol of their leadership.”

Santa Fe achieved credits for resilience planning activities which strengthen its ability to respond and adapt to climate change risks, natural and man-made hazards, and extreme events including public health crises. The importance of increasing resilience becomes apparent as communities respond to the current pandemic.

The city’s Environmental Services Division led an interdepartmental team of subject-matter experts through the certification process; mostly the staff members who also helped shape the Sustainable Santa Fe 25-Year Plan.

The LEED for Cities and Communities program will help the city evaluate its performance on implementation of the 2018 Sustainable Santa Fe Plan, and better enable the City to compare progress against similar jurisdictions. When the City applies for recertification in 2025, it hopes to achieve Platinum certification.

The LEED for Cities certification was made possible by a grant from Bank of America that was awarded by USGBC to 15 cities and communities. The grant provided financial assistance, educational resources, and technical support.

“As a community that deeply cares about the environment, it is exciting to have Santa Fe recognized as one of the world’s first LEED Gold-certified cities,” said Paul Mondragon, Bank of America New Mexico market president. “Bank of America’s support for USGBC’s LEED for Cities initiative is part of our larger capital deployment commitment to address climate change and build resilience in communities like Santa Fe.”

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