LEED for Cities Pilot | Performance Score to LEED Certification | U.S. Green Building Council
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LEED for Cities Pilot | Performance Score to LEED Certification

| Possible 100 points


To encourage all cities to measure and improve performance, focusing on outcomes from ongoing sustainability efforts. To leverage a globally consistent method of performance measurement for a streamlined and data-based pathway to LEED certification for cities.


Measuring city metrics and generating a Performance Score in the Arc platform will evaluate the results of best practices and serve as a pathway to LEED for Cities certification under the pilot rating system.


City project teams 1) register their city in Arc, 2) complete all precertification requirements listed below, and 3) provide data to receive a Performance Score in Arc. To generate a Performance Score, participants input data across five categories – Energy, Water, Waste, Transportation, and Human Experience. Cities must complete all precertification requirements and may provide additional information to achieve points to increase the Base Score, which contributes to the total Performance Score.


  1. PRECERTIFICATION: Earn all precertification requirements listed below, by completing and submitting information through the Arc platform.
  2. DATA and PERFORMANCE SCORE: Input city data in the performance categories (energy, water, waste, transportation, and human experience) through the Arc platform. Maintain accurate documentation that verifies the data.
  3. BASE SCORE: Achieve an optional Base Score of up to 10, by pursuing strategies listed below under Base Score and submitting information through the Arc platform.
    • (Optional step) Submit supporting documentation for the Precertification to GBCI for review. Upon successful review, GBCI can award LEED for Cities Precertification, which lasts for one year.
    • Submit supporting documentation for the Precertification requirements to GBCI for review, achieve a performance score of 40 or more based on a year of data, and submit performance data documentation to GBCI for review. Upon successful review, GBCI can award LEED for Cities certification.
Points and Certification Level

Certification levels remain consistent with the LEED rating system. A project team’s Performance Score determines the level of LEED certification.

Performance Score and Certification Levels:
  • 40-49 is Certified
  • 50-59 is Silver
  • 60-79 is Gold
  • 80-100 is Platinum

    Projects pursuing LEED for Cities certification through this pathway need to achieve all precertification requirements, listed below:

    1. Commit to Sharing Data
      a. Commit to measuring metrics in the performance score on an ongoing basis.
    2. Project Boundary
      a. Upload a map showing the limits of the area that will receive a performance score and Certification.
      b. Describe the city and the land use types and building types it includes.
    3. Governance
      a. Describe the body or entity that conducts the policies, actions, and affairs for the city.
      b. Describe the level of control/influence over infrastructure, operations, policies, and individual buildings for the project.
      c. Upload or link to the relevant community charter documents.
    4. Stakeholders
      a. Project Team. Identify the names of individual stakeholders within the city who will work on the certification and describe their role.
      b. Community Engagement. Identify key stakeholder groups within the city that the city has engaged or will engage as part of its planning.
    5. Meeting
      a. Describe or upload documentation describing relevant planning meetings, including dates, times, locations, agenda, and attendee lists.
    6. Roadmap
      a. For communities with existing plans:
      i. Upload or link to relevant planning documents.
      ii. Upload a crosswalk between goals or strategies in the relevant planning documents and categories in the performance score.
      b. For communities that are developing plans:
      i. Upload a document that:
      1. Lists goals
      2. Lists strategies under each goal
      3. Lists the performance score metric associated with each strategy

    The Performance Score in Arc measures outcomes in the following categories:

    Energy 1. Greenhouse Gas Emissions (CO2 equivalent) Tons/Year/Person
    Water 2. Domestic Water Consumption Amount/Year/Person
    Waste 3. Municipal Solid Waste Generated Amount/Year/Person
    4. Municipal Solid Waste Diverted from Landfill % of Total Amount Collected
    Transportation 5. Distance Traveled in Individual Vehicles Daily Distance per Day
    Human Experience
    Education 6. Population with (at least) a High School Degree % of Population 25 Years And Over
    7. Population with (at least) a Bachelor's Degree % of Population 25 Years And Over
    Equitability 8. Median Gross Rent as % of Household Income %
    9. Gini coefficient Number between zero (0) and one (1)
    Prosperity 10. Median Household Income US Dollars per Year
    11. Unemployment rate % of Population 16 Years And Over
    Health & Safety 12. Median Air Quality Index (AQI) Number between zero (0) and 500
    13. Air Quality Days Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups Number of Days between (0) and 365
    14. Violent Crime Per capita per Year


    Cities have the option to pursue the strategies listed below to increase the Base Score of their Performance Score by up to 10 points. Cities achieve these strategies by completing and submitting information to GBCI for review.


    Submit specific plans listed below, created within the past three years. Available points are in parentheses:

    1. Submit a plan to achieve certification for a site or building within the city using at least one of the following systems: LEED, ParkSmart, PEER, SITES, TRUE, WELL, or STAR Communities (2)
    2. Submit a plan for benchmarking and performance evaluation for at least three (3) basic services (2)
    3. Submit a carbon reduction plan (2)
    4. Submit a disaster preparedness and climate resilience plan (2)
    5. Submit a healthy community plan (1)
    6. Submit a plan for affordable provision of basic services, including power, clean water, waste management, safe shelter, and healthcare for people living in slums or other informal settlements (1)
    7. Submit a biodiversity and/or watershed management and conservation plan (1)
    8. Submit a culture and heritage action plan (1)
    9. Submit a green infrastructure plan (1)

    Commit to measuring and tracking a minimum of two (2) metrics in addition to those required to generate a Performance Score. Earn one (1) point for every two (2) additional metrics shared. Project teams can choose from a list of 100+ options OR can create their own. Share the following information about the metric:

    • Sources. What organization compiled the data or performed the calculations? If available, which person or group of people at those organizations had primary responsibility for compiling the data or performing the calculations?
    • Methods. Who determined the value and how did they determine it? Which protocols or standards did they use?
    • Completeness and accuracy. How complete is the data? If data is estimated or incomplete, or if the accuracy is in question, provide an explanation of how the data is incomplete or estimated, any assumptions made as part of the estimation, and the challenges and barriers to providing complete and accurate data.
    • Identify the primary Arc project team member responsible for measuring, tracking, and inputting the data.


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