AMESBURY — The city has become the only municipality in New England to be accepted into the 2022 Sustainability and Equity Accelerator through the LEED for Cities Local Government Leadership program.
The LEED for Cities Local Government Leadership Program helps local governments committed to reducing climate change and advancing resilience and social equity by measuring and tracking performance and providing a framework to address energy, waste , water, pollution and carbon. LEED is the acronym for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.
Amesbury joins 14 other US cities including: Cape Canaveral, Florida; Reno, Nevada; Columbia, South Carolina; Dayton, Ohio; Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Ithaca, New York; and Oakland County, Michigan, in being named a national cohort in this year’s Sustainability and Equity Accelerator.
Director of Community and Economic Development Angela Cleveland said the group of 15 cities represents a population of more than 3 million, ranging from 5,200 in La Crescent, Minnesota, to 1.27 million in County of Washington. ‘Oakland, Michigan.
The group also represents an area of Delaware with an average median household income of $65,000, Cleveland said.
The US Green Building Council created the LEED green building rating system and partnered with Bank of America to launch the Local Government Leadership Program in 2017.
The LEED rating system considers social and economic indicators such as health, equity, education and prosperity.
The LEED for Cities Local Government Leadership Program provides peer-to-peer networking opportunities, access to educational resources, technical assistance, and waiver of membership registration and certification fees to support cohorts working towards certification LEED.
As a cohort of Sustainability and Equity Accelerators, Amesbury will receive a one-year silver-level US Green Building Council membership; access to a virtual orientation program; assistance with public relations and marketing; and access to green building policy and advocacy support, among others.
Cleveland said the city will meet with the other 14 cities by phone and web conference on a monthly basis and the city will also work one-on-one with a liaison from the US Green Building Council.
“This person is going to help us identify where we are now in achieving sustainability,” she said.
Amesbury will also review its priorities, policies, programs and any planning work it may need to do to achieve final LEED certification.
The city will conduct an equity analysis to see where it stands on equity policies and programs and will also look at environmental concerns, such as floodplains and collecting a greenhouse gas emissions inventory. Greenhouse.
“There will be a lot more knowledge and gathering of information and information first,” Cleveland said.
Cleveland cited the city’s replacement of all of its streetlights with LEDs in 2020 as a past initiative that the LEED program could help educate more Amesbury residents about. She also pointed out that Brewery Silvaticus and BareWolf Brewing recycle all of their beans at local farms.
“We’re looking at where we can celebrate those things we’re already doing to achieve a more sustainable community, and then we’re asking ourselves what we can do to do more,” she said.
The city will also explore what residents can do in their daily lives to encourage sustainability.
Amesbury’s largest category of greenhouse gas emissions will ultimately be its buildings and homes, according to Cleveland, who also said residents will eventually be encouraged to reduce energy at home, while reducing car journeys.
“It’s the same for businesses, they can use more durable goods and consider turning off lights and generating power through equipment,” she said. “There are so many different things. These can be big requests or small requests. »
The program will continue next year and the city will also compile an inventory of sustainable development practices in which it can participate and which it can encourage.
Mayor Kassandra Gove said in a press release that the city is committed to planning for long-term equity and sustainability, as evidenced by the creation of the Equity and Inclusion Design Team and the I AMesbury 2030 master planning initiative.
“I am delighted that Amesbury can learn from communities across the country in this cohort and also share our own successes. I am proud of the work our team does every day and I know this program will help us learn and grow for the betterment of our entire community,” she said.
US Green Building Council CEO Peter Templeton also expressed his enthusiasm in a statement.
“Local governments have the capacity to have a significant impact and to set an example in terms of sustainable development. This year’s cohort of cities and counties seek to create responsible and sustainable plans for natural systems, energy, water, waste, transportation and many other factors,” he said.
Writer Jim Sullivan covers Amesbury and Salisbury for The Daily News. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or by phone at 978-961-3145. Follow him on Twitter @ndnsully.