For years, planners and building architects have sought platinum, gold or silver LEED certification to demonstrate an adherence to Leadership in Energy and Environment Design standards.
Early in 2018, the U.S. Green Building Council, the creator of LEED, established a grant program to award similar platinum, gold and silver certifications to cities. The first six cities selected were Denver, Phoenix, Atlanta, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and San Jose, Calif.
The building council announced the second crop of 15 cities May 22, with Santa Fe among those awarded a noncash grant that will include membership at USGBC, the registration cost to apply for LEED certification, technical assistance and flying two city staffers to Washington on June 3-5 for training, said Katherine Mortimer, the city’s sustainability supervisor.
Santa Fe has until September to complete an application that the building council will evaluate to determine what level certification to award the City Different.
“Obviously, we want platinum,” Mortimer said. “We’d shoot for that.”
To achieve platinum status, Santa Fe would need to score at least 80 points out of 110 in the areas of integrative process (planning and leadership, green building policies and incentives); natural systems and ecology; transportation and land use; water efficiencies; energy and greenhouse gas emissions; materials and resources (waste); quality of life; innovation; and regional priorities, Mortimer said.
The apartment search website ABODO crunched LEED statistics in 2017 and determined Santa Fe ranked No. 2 and Taos No. 5 in a list of 10 cities with the most residential LEED projects per capita. Santa Fe also ranked No. 15 among cities of all sizes for number of LEED-certified construction projects, sandwiched between Portland, Ore., and San Francisco.
Among the platinum residential communities in Santa Fe are Villa Hermosa, Gallegos Lane, Hopewell-Mann, Cerro Gordo and Stachowiak-Stibich.
On the commercial building side, Santa Fe has one LEED platinum structure — the Trades and Advanced Technology Center at Santa Fe Community College — and at least 18 LEED gold structures, according to building council statistics.
The city already has a 25-year Sustainable Santa Fe Plan approved in December. The LEED for Cities and Communities certification dovetails with that.
“It will help us zero in on some of the key actions to do first,” Mortimer said. “There’s also learning from other cities [being involved with the building council].