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City of Racine – The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), creators of the LEED green building rating system, have announced 15 cities and counties, including Racine, which will begin the process for certification in a national cohort with support from the LEED for Cities Local Government Leadership Program. 

According to a release from the USGBC, the Bank of America partnered with the organization to launch the Local Government Leadership Program in 2017 and has contributed more than $1.75 million to support 56 cities and counties in their pursuit of LEED certification. The program helps local governments committed to reducing climate change and advancing resilience and social equity by measuring and tracking performance using the LEED for Cities rating system. 

The release also says that more than 120 cities and communities have achieved LEED certification. LEED provides a framework for local governments looking to implement strategies to address energy, water, waste, pollution and carbon. In addition to environmental factors, the rating system takes into account social and economic indicators, such as health, equity, education and prosperity. LEED helps local leaders hone metrics around initiatives; benchmark performance relative to peers; and communicate to and educate stakeholders on progress. The rating system is flexible and can be applied to small and large cities, counties and other local governments, as well as economic areas, such as business improvement districts and neighborhoods. 

“We are incredibly excited for Racine to be included in this cohort and to begin the work of LEED for Cities certification. Sustainability has been a central tenant of my administration and this work furthers the City’s commitment to reducing our carbon footprint and meeting the climate goals laid out by the Biden Administration. I want to continue Racine’s leadership in both the state and the region at demonstrating how building in sustainability and resilience into all City projects can lead to better outcomes for the residents we serve and the planet as whole,” said Mayor Cory Mason 

Cara Pratt, the City’s Sustainability and Conservation Coordinator, was responsible for submitting the City’s application and will serve as project manager for the certification process. 

“The City of Racine has built capacity in sustainability over several years,” said Sustainability and Conservation Coordinator Cara Pratt. “We adopted a resolution committing to the Paris Climate Accord in 2018, received SolSmart Bronze designation and passed a Zero Waste resolution in 2019, installed the City’s largest to-date solar array, and won two grants associated with environmental justice and resilience in 2020. We also anticipate delivery of 9 electric buses in late 2021. In a few short years, we’ve demonstrated the economic value of reducing our carbon footprint, and we look forward to leveraging LEED for Cities certification to build a healthy, equitable, and sustainable future for all Racine residents and businesses.” 

The City of Racine plans to achieve LEED for Cities certification by March 31, 2022. 

For being selected to participate in the cohort, each local government receives:   

  • A dedicated USGBC staff liaison providing project management and coaching support, technical assistance, and QA/QC on certification materials;  
  • Access to a multi-day virtual orientation program for staff, elected/appointed officials, and partners;  
  • Monthly networking and convening opportunities with the national cohort;  
  • Public relations and marketing assistance including a case study on the USGBC Project Directory tied to certification announcement;   
  • How to guides, education resources, and other project management tools;   
  • Access to green building policy and advocacy support, connection to local chapters and USGBC’s network of thought leaders and practitioners; and  
  • USGBC membership at the Silver level; registration in LEED for Cities; certification review fees; and access to the Arc reporting platform to encourage continuous improvement and benchmarking. 

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