City of San José Earns LEED for Cities Platinum Certification

San José, Coyote Creek, Emergency Operations Center, Fremont, Milpitas, Newark, Santa Clara

San José is the first city in California to be honored by the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED for Cities program, which recognizes city-level sustainability policies and programs that reduce air pollution and improve quality of life for residents

SAN JOSE, Calif. — The City of San José announced today that it has achieved LEED Platinum certification in recognition of its efforts to improve sustainability and quality of life, becoming the first city in California and one of the first in the world to be certified
under the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED for Cities program.

Mahesh Ramanujam, president and CEO of the USGBC, the creators of LEED, said San José is one of the global cities leading the way on green building, urban sustainability and climate change mitigation.

“This is a wonderful accomplishment that signifies San José is setting the bar for what is possible, creating a healthy and safe place where citizens can thrive,” Ramanujam said. “Cities and communities that achieve LEED certification are lowering carbon emissions, creating a healthier environment and striving to improve quality of life for their residents. San José has set a standard for sustainability performance.”

LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, helps buildings, communities and cities achieve high performance in key areas of human and environmental health. LEED for Cities is a performance-based program that enables cities to measure, evaluate and benchmark their sustainability performance. As a LEEDcertified city, San José has access to Arc, a digital performance platform that enables cities to better track sustainability performance and improve related programs. The LEED Platinum certification validates the City’s commitment to sustainability policies that benefit residents and ensure the long-term vitality of the community, with cleaner air and a secure water supply. San José joins a short list of LEED-certified cities around the globe, including Washington, D.C.; Phoenix, Arizona; Lancaster, Pennsylvania; Savona, Italy; and Surat, India.

“I thank the U.S. Green Building Council for naming San José as California’s first LEED-certified city, and for recognizing our steadfast commitment to environmental sustainability,” said San José Mayor Sam Liccardo. “While national leadership continues to abdicate its environmental responsibilities, San José will persist in its efforts to fight climate change and build a more sustainable community.”

San José’s LEED Platinum certification recognizes the City’s sustainability leadership in several key areas, including:

  • Climate Smart San José, a new initiative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,
    save water and improve quality of life. Climate Smart builds upon the City’s
    2007 Green Vision, making San José one of the first major U.S. cities to
    establish a climate action plan that aligns with the Paris Agreement
  • Waste reduction and diversion, including a goal of zero waste by the year 2022,
    as outlined in the City’s Zero Waste Strategic Plan
  • Transportation, as demonstrated by the City’s new Vehicle Miles Traveled metric,
    a sustainability-oriented method for analyzing transportation impacts

The certification also recognizes the City’s community engagement. In shaping Climate Smart San José, for instance, the City conducted extensive public outreach in English, Spanish and Vietnamese and worked closely with our community and stakeholders.

“Sustainability is vital to San José,” said Kerrie Romanow, director of the City’s Environmental Services Department. “We are constantly searching for new ways to improve the lives of our residents and make sure San José is healthy for decades to come. Our new climate action community plan, Climate Smart San José, is just the latest example of that commitment.”

San José is one of six recipients of a generous grant the Bank of America Charitable Foundation provided to accelerate the next generation of high-performance cities. To learn more about LEED for Cities, visit the program page on the USGBC website.

About the San José Environmental Services Department (ESD)
San José, Capital of Silicon Valley, is the largest city in Northern California and the 10th largest city in the nation. The San José Environmental Services Department leads Climate Smart San José, manages garbage and recycling services; watershed protection and pollution prevention; municipal drinking water and recycled water; sustainability initiatives; and the operation and infrastructure improvements of the San José-Santa Clara Regional Wastewater Facility. ESD’s mission is to deliver world-class utility services and programs to improve our health, environment and economy.

About the U.S. Green Building Council
The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is committed to a prosperous and sustainable future through cost-efficient and energy-saving green buildings. USGBC works toward its mission of market transformation through its LEED green building program, robust educational offerings, an international network of local community leaders, the annual Greenbuild International Conference & Expo, the Center for Green Schools and advocacy in support of public policy that encourages and enables green buildings and communities. For more information, visit

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