LEED For Cities Program Adds 2023 Cohort

The U.S. Green Building Council program assists local governments plan and track progress on sustainability, resilience, and equity goals aimed at LEED for Cities certification.

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), developers of the LEED green building rating system, has announced the 2023 cohort of 13 cities selected to participate in its LEED for Cities Local Government Leadership Program. The program aims to help local governments set goals, collect data, and validate performance through LEED for Cities certification.

LEED for cities
Image: Adobe Stock/TensorSpark

“The 13 cities selected for this year’s LEED for Cities cohort are joining dozens of other communities across the U.S. that are setting and tracking goals towards better sustainability, resilience, and quality of life,” said Peter Templeton, President and CEO, USGBC. “City and county governments understand the climate challenges their communities face and are using the LEED for Cities framework to ensure measurable progress is made in addressing them.”

“Buildings and communities have the ability to regenerate and sustain the health and vitality of those who inhabit them,” said Alex Liftman, Global Environmental Executive at Bank of America. “USGBC is at the forefront of driving the development of green buildings and spaces, and through our long-standing partnership we have seen the creation of more prosperous, resilient, and equitable communities. We are looking forward to seeing these 13 cities’ hard work and action result in LEED for Cities certification.”

The 2023 cohort joins 77 local governments that have participated in the program since its inception. The program attracts diverse participants — from local governments using the framework to engage stakeholders and initiate plans to those seeking recognition for their accomplishments against established goals. Cities participating in this round have expressed their intent to use LEED for Cities certification results to attract federal grant dollars for initiatives supporting community resilience and advancing social equity in line with the White House Justice40 initiative.

LEED for cities
Map of the 2023 cohort in the USGBC LEED for Cities Local Government Leadership Program (Image: USGBC.org)

This leadership cohort brings together diverse local governments from around the U.S. to pursue LEED for Cities certification. The program provides peer-to-peer networking opportunities, technical assistance and access to educational resources, and covers fees for USGBC membership, registration and certification reviews for participating governments.

The 2023 cohort of cities represents a population of nearly 3.5 million Americans. The cities are:

  • Colorado Springs, CO
  • Des Moines, IA
  • Grand Junction, CO
  • Lantana, FL
  • Largo, FL
  • Lawrence, KS
  • Lexington, KY
  • North Miami, FL
  • Palm Coast, FL
  • Plano, TX
  • San Diego, CA
  • Scottsdale, AZ
  • South Bend, IN

To date, more than 125 local governments have achieved LEED for Cities certification and nearly 200 are in the LEED process. The LEED for Cities system provides a road map to help jurisdictions evaluate and track progress on economic, environmental and social conditions. Certification helps local governments achieve meaningful results such as attracting new economic activity, reaching global climate goals, improving air and water quality, and enhancing quality of life for all.

In 2022, Bank of America and USGBC established the program’s Equity Fellow position, a one-year grant funded role for a person from an underrepresented community interested in working at the intersection of social equity, sustainability and the built environment.

Bank of America has been a partner of USGBC and a member since 1997. Since 2011 it has provided over $4.1 million in total grant funding to the non-profit. It also has integrated sustainability into its building design standards since 2005 and used those standards to deliver workspaces that are LEED certified across its global footprint. The company has nearly 18 million square feet of certified green building space (25% of its corporate real estate) and has a goal to achieve certification for 40% of its space by 2030.

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