Initiative designed to improve city leaders’ efforts to achieve environmental sustainability
The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), creators of the LEED green building rating system, has announced that the City of Sarasota is one of the 20 cities and counties among the latest group selected to participate in the 2020 LEED for Cities and Communities Grant Program.
“The program helps local governments committed to accelerating progress on climate change, resilience and social equity planning” as they measure and track performance using LEED, a city news release explains.
Cities and counties participating in the 2020 program receive access to educational resources and technical support as they pursue LEED certification, the release notes. “The City of Sarasota has a long history of ambitious sustainability efforts, such as its Ready for 100 effort,” which entails a commitment to 100% renewable energy for city operations by 2030 and communitywide by 2045, the release adds. (See the related article in this issue). This LEED certification will improve city leaders’ ability to understand the municipality’s “sustainability performance and use data-driven metrics to strategically invest in improvements,” the release says.
“The City of Sarasota has already earned its reputation statewide as a leader in sustainability efforts,” said City Manager Tom Barwin in the release. “Our selection for this forward-thinking program only further establishes our national standing as a community that is at the forefront of striving to meet the environmental challenges of the present and preparing for a sustainable future.”
“LEED for Cities and Communities gives planners, developers and local governments — large or small — a framework for implementing strategies to address energy, water, waste, pollution and carbon, and takes into account social and economic indicators, including health, equity, education and prosperity,” the release explains. “Through LEED, local leaders hone metrics around initiatives; benchmark performance relative to peers; and communicate to and educate stakeholders on progress,” the release adds. “More than 100 cities and communities around the world have already achieved LEED certification.”
“Local governments see the on-the-ground effects of a changing climate and how it impacts people, businesses and communities,” said Mahesh Ramanujam, president and CEO, USGBC, in the release. “They also understand that taking action can lead to a stronger economy and better quality of life for their residents,” he added in the release.
Since 2018, Bank of America has provided $1.25 million in grant funding to the LEED for Cities and Communities program, supporting a total of 41 cities and counties to date, the release points out.
The 20 cities and counties selected for the 2020 program represent more than 10 million Americans in urban and rural communities around the country, the release adds.
To learn more about Sarasota’s sustainability goals and progress, visit sarasotaFL.gov/sustainability.