Megan Sparks

One theme that is common across all of humanity is the pursuit of a better life — the innate desire to improve, create and cultivate. At USGBC, we have a vision that buildings and communities will regenerate and sustain the health and vitality of all life within a generation. In support of this, USGBC released two new pilot certification programs today: LEED for Cities and LEED for Communities.

How does it work?

These offerings, built into the newly released Arc platform, will support continuous progress toward better communities and cities, and a higher quality of life. LEED for Cities and LEED for Communities do this by asking a community or a city to set goals, and implement strategies and plans to maintain and support these goals. The city or community then shares performance data to measure and track progress toward those goals.

The Arc platform will help users measure city performance across a number of critical areas including energy, water, waste, transportation and human experience, and help cities work towards a higher quality of life. LEED for Cities and LEED for Communities are designed to be applicable to cities, communities, neighborhoods, districts, townships and counties.

These offerings are all about leadership. At USGBC, we say every story about a LEED building is a story about leaders. LEED for Cities and LEED for Communities expand on this, bringing new level of leadership to cities around the world by: 

  • Improving quality of life: LEED for Cities helps you to demonstrate your city’s commitment to sustainability, human health and economic prosperity. LEED for Cities not only benchmarks your city’s current performance, but it provides you with the measures to educate residents, visitors and business owners that enable continuous improvement and make your locale the place where people want to live.
  • Verifying leadership: Projects will be provided with greenhouse gas emissions figures based on energy consumption, enabling you to track and report progress towards your city’s emissions targets and support your country in meeting its climate action goals. In addition, you’ll be able to communicate your city’s sustainability performance and goals in a consistent format that is used around the world.
  • Improving sustainability performance: Improve your sustainability performance over time by adopting policies that help to reduce energy, water, waste, pollution and CO2 at the city scale, and in turn improve air and water quality. This is achieved through adopting LEED-based strategies and also learning from innovative strategies implemented by a network of projects found across the globe.

Register your project and pursue certification

LEED for Cities and LEED for Communities certification is facilitated through the Arc platform and is now open for project registration: 

  1. Register your city or community in Arc
  2. Apply for precertification by submitting project overview and planning information for review
  3. Apply for initial certification by submitting performance data and receiving a score for review
  4. Submit data for on-going certification

In order to achieve certification, projects must first pursue precertification. Because all cities are different, the roadmap will also look different for every project. For precertification, projects create their own roadmap through clear project definition, goal establishment, identification of stakeholders, creation of a governance structure and setting up for measurement and tracking of key metrics.

Once a project’s roadmap is reviewed and approved by GBCI, precertification is awarded and the project may move on to pursue full certification. For certification, projects will track and report key metrics across five categories and four subcategories:

  • Energy
  • Water
  • Waste
  • Transportation
  • Human experience including Education, Prosperity, Equitability, and Health & Safety

Based on the performance across these metrics, the city will receive a performance score in Arc. Projects meeting a minimum score of 40 meet the requirements for certification.

Register your LEED for Cities or Communities project in Arc

Contact us to learn more.