How LEED is Changing City Planning
Green Building

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is committed to a prosperous, healthy and sustainable future through its LEED green building certification program, robust educational offerings, nationwide network of local members and the annual Greenbuild International Conference & Expo. USGBC serves a diverse marketplace and its LEED green building program is the world’s most widely used green building program in the world – saving money for families, businesses and taxpayers, reducing carbon emissions, and contributing to a healthier environment.

LEED and Arc, a digital platform that helps buildings and cities benchmark and track performance, are helping make the world a greener place, on the local level. LEED isn’t just a way to create individual greener buildings. Beyond energy-efficient structures with smaller carbon footprints, green building now means greener communities, greener cities and a global effort to fight climate change.

Local leaders and city planners are using the example of LEED to create healthier communities, even as USGBC works to continually improve the ways we gather data to improve performance through innovations like Arc.

Improving resiliency and infrastructure

The idea that neighborhoods and cities are their own built ecosystems is gaining influence, as forward-thinking leaders make an effort to create more equitable, disaster-resilient and environmentally friendly places to live. From the Resilient Cities Summit to the Compact of Mayors to the Better Buildings Summit, local leaders are coming together to discuss strategies.

Examples are everywhere when it comes to how cities are interweaving green infrastructure and climate action planning. As USGBC offers city planners tools for enhancing resiliency, LEED offers a structure for achieving a high-performance built environment. Plus, the recent Economic Impact Study indicated, LEED supports infrastructure goals while creating jobs and improving the economy.

Embracing green building and health in the wider community

LEED is now also a way to certify whole cities and communities. City leaders can transform their areas into environmentally friendly places that are healthy for all residents and that set an example for others across the nation. Dozens of cities around the world are already participating in the LEED for Cities certification pilot.

With the LEED for Cities pilot, urban areas can measure and improve performance, focusing on outcomes from ongoing sustainability efforts. To take part in the pilot, city project teams must register their cities in the Arc platform. Several opportunities are available at Greenbuild Boston to learn more about LEED for Cities and Arc. LEED is also for smaller communities, though—the pilot can also be used for neighborhoods, districts or microgrids.

Helping buildings, cities and communities get to net zero

Last December, USGBC introduced a tool that complements LEED: Arc, a state-of-the-art digital platform for measuring and tracking building performance. Arc allows buildings and spaces to compare performance metrics across the globe and connect them to green building strategies.

As a partner in the Advancing Net Zero program with other green building councils worldwide, USGBC is developing a formal recognition in Arc for projects that achieve net zero carbon emissions. In the U.S., more than half of buildings that have been recognized as net zero are also LEED-certified, and USGBC is working toward the 2050 goal of net zero on all levels.

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