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U.S. City Earns LEED Certification


By Ryan Berlin Energy Efficiency
Penn Square in the center of Lancaster City includes a large soldiers and sailors monument

Many commercial and institutional facilities strive to become more sustainable, but individual buildings are just small parts of a much larger picture — namely, entire communities.

Lancaster, Penn., has earned gold certification under the new LEED for Cities program, which recognizes leadership in sustainability. It is among the first communities in the United States and the world to earn the rating, which also recognized Washington, D.C.; Phoenix; Arlington County, Va.; Songdo, South Korea; Savona, Italy; and Surat, India.

LEED, the most widely used green building rating system in the world, is administered by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). The certification system grew to include cities in 2017.

“It’s to help a city track performance data toward sustainability goals,” says Heidi Kunka, USGBC’s Central Pennsylvania community director. “It’s also to educate residents and visitors on the importance of those metrics.”

As part of its certification, Lancaster is tracking five metrics related to sustainability: water, energy, waste, transportation and human experience, which encompasses social factors such as education, equitability, income, and health and safety, according to StateImpact Pennsylvania.

Douglas Smith, a senior planner for Lancaster, said the LEED program will help the various city departments keep important data in one place and work to mitigate the harmful effects of climate change.

“Local governments are really on the front lines of” climate action, Smith says.

This Quick Read was submitted by Ryan Berlin, managing editor of Facility Maintenance Decisions.

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