Atlantic Beach has become the first Florida city, and among the first in the United States, to be certified using the LEED for Cities rating system pilot program.
Atlantic Beach achieved LEED for Cities silver certification for implementing practical and measurable strategies and solutions aimed at improving sustainability and quality of life. The achievement specifically aligns with the City Commission’s Environmental Stewardship priority; the city will now measure and track progress toward its newly created goals.
LEED for Cities is a pilot program of the U.S. Green Building Council, which has a vision that buildings and communities will regenerate and sustain the health and vitality of all life in a generation. LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is the world’s most widely used green-building rating program.
The City of Atlantic Beach’s efforts to become LEED certified was spearheaded by the Environmental Stewardship Committee, working in conjunction with Planning and Community Development Director Shane Corbin and Planner Brian Broedell.
“With our love of parks and green spaces, public beaches, and a lush maritime forest, we are thrilled and proud that Atlantic Beach is the first city in Florida to earn a LEED for Cities distinction,” said Mayor Ellen Glasser. “With our LEED silver certification, we demonstrate our commitment to lead and transform the future of our great state by creating a roadmap for success that includes resiliency, equity, and sustainability.
LEED is designed to help buildings, communities and cities achieve high performance in key areas of human and environmental health. LEED for Cities enables cities to measure and track outcomes and are evaluated based on 14 key metrics that include energy, water, waste, transportation, education, health, safety, prosperity and equitability. Performance is tracked through Arc, a digital platform that connects actions and tracks progress using a performance score.
City Manager Joe Gerrity said Atlantic Beach is fully committed to measuring its environmental footprint and create specific strategies to reduce that footprint.
“Gathering the data needed for our LEED for Cities certification required every department to work together and share information in new ways,” he said. “The roadmap our staff developed through the application process contains a wide range of strategies that can help inform future planning and decision-making in ways that previously were not part of the conversation.
An example is that reducing the City’s carbon footprint will now be considered when making decisions regarding transportation infrastructure and land-use planning.
“Ultimately, LEED for Cities will make us a more environmentally friendly, efficient, sustainable, and resilient community,” Gerrity said.