Program Helps Address Climate Change, Resilience and Social Equity Challenges through LEED with Support from Bank of America
The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), creators of the LEED green building rating system, announced this week that Johnson County Government is one of only 20 cities and counties in the country selected to participate in the 2020 LEED for Cities and Communities Grant Program. The program helps local governments that are committed to accelerating progress on climate change, resilience and social equity planning, to measure and track performance using USGBC guidelines.
Cities and counties participating in the 2020 program receive access to education resources and technical support as they pursue LEED certification. This award supports Johnson County Government’s already impressive sustainability accomplishments, including nine LEED certified buildings, implementation of a behavior-based energy savings program, hiring of a Sustainability Program Manager and an Energy Manager, use of 103 alternative fuel fleet vehicles, and other energy-efficient practices across all departments.
“The most intriguing aspect of the LEED for Cities framework is the ability to take a more holistic view of our sustainability work beyond environmental sustainability,” said Brian Alferman, Sustainability Program manager. “We understand that solutions that are people-focused, specifically on vulnerable populations, better reflect how our sustainability work can best create a thriving community for all, now and in the future.”
“Our community can be proud of Johnson County for being selected for this award,” said Commissioner Janee’ Hanzlick, Johnson County’s elected official representative for the Cities and Communities program. “The LEED certification process will allow Johnson County Government to not only build on our already strong foundation of sustainable practices, but it will also help us provide leadership in the larger community to help protect resources for future generations.”
“Johnson County has a proud history of demonstrating our commitment to sustainability, human health, and economic prosperity and we’re excited to continue that tradition by pursuing LEED certification for our entire community,” Alferman said. “It will not only help benchmark our current performance, but will also educate residents, visitors and business owners about Johnson County’s progress, ensuring this county is the place people want to live, work and play.”
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. Through LEED, local leaders hone metrics around initiatives; benchmark performance relative to peers; and communicate to and educate stakeholders on progress. 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. They also understand that taking action can lead to a stronger economy and better quality of life for their residents,” said Mahesh Ramanujam, president and CEO, USGBC. “More than 160 cities and communities around the world are participating in LEED for Cities and Communities outside of the grant program and thanks to our partners at Bank of America, we are able to welcome even more into the LEED family. These cities and communities are committed to finding solutions that improve our living standard and are using LEED to ensure they are on a path of continuous improvement.”
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 company’s 2019 grant helped 15 cities and its 2018 grant supported six cities and communities. The 20 cities and counties selected for the 2020 program represent more than 10 million Americans in urban and rural communities around the country and include: