USGBC’s LEED for Cities and LEED for Communities programs provide third-party verification of the current performance of built-out cities and communities.
“Integrating the STAR Community Rating System into LEED for Cities and LEED for Communities, will bring us closer to our goal of advancing sustainable cities and communities around the world,” said Mahesh Ramanujam, president & CEO, USGBC. “We are helping cities develop responsible, sustainable and specific plans for energy, water, waste, transportation and many other factors that contribute to raising the standard of living for all people around the world.”
The 75 cities and communities that have achieved STAR certification and the 20 additional cities and communities that are seeking STAR certification will now transfer into the family of LEED for Cities and LEED for Communities. Hilari Varnadore, the director of the STAR Communities program, has also joined USGBC as the director of the LEED for Cities and LEED for Communities programs.
“STAR has been a longtime collaborator with USGBC,” said Hilari Varnadore, director, USGBC. “In fact, the STAR Community Rating System was inspired by LEED and developed with LEED in mind. Through this integration, these exceptional STAR communities will reach an even higher level of leadership where they will be able to benchmark their current performance, home in on targeted metrics to achieve continuous improvement, and demonstrate a commitment to sustainability, human health and economic prosperity. They also send the signal to city planners and policymakers that radical transparency and accountability are necessary to ensure a new generation of places where people, nature and businesses can all thrive.”
The City of Columbia, South Carolina, was recently certified under STAR.
The development of equitable, safe, healthy, sustainable cities and communities at USGBC dates back to the development of LEED for Neighborhood Development more than a decade ago. As new technologies are developed and new strategies devised, there is a growing consciousness of the collective role sustainability plays in human health and wellness.
“At USGBC, we have a vision that buildings and communities will regenerate and sustain the health and vitality of all life within a generation,” added Ramanujam. “In order to realize a sustainable future for all, the next generation of green building must focus on the development of smart and resilient cities and communities. Our cities must champion equitable, safe and healthy development policies; advanced technologies that improve the performance of their communities and cities; and incorporate concepts like wellness and human experience into city planning, development and management.”