City of Greensboro works to take the lead with new sustainability efforts

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GREENSBORO, N.C. — Adding more green space, solar panels and infrastructure changes are all part of an effort to make Greensboro a more sustainable city.

Greensboro is one of 15 cities, including Miami, Orlando, Cincinatti and Baltimore, that are participating in the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED Program. LEED stands for leading energy and environmental design.

The program will help identify areas where the city can improve in terms of sustainability and resiliency. It will also help Greensboro become a leader in the region and the nation in terms of clean energy.

The green changes are supposed to have quantitative and qualitative improvements for the city.

Those include financial benefits, like the $75,000 in energy credits the city is getting from Duke Energy to install a solar field on a downtown building, as well as quality of life benefits for the community, like the addition of new green spaces.

Long-term changes mean looking at making infrastructure improvements so the city is more sustainable and resilient.

"The more of these sustainable things that we do, it helps the beauty and the environmental quality of the city but it also creates jobs in the environmental sectors. So we’ll have green jobs come out of this too as we transition from one thing to the next," City of Greensboro Sustainable Community Administrator Steven Drew said.

The City of Greensboro is working on collecting data in areas like energy, water, transportation, education and health. That data will be submitted to LEED in Washington D.C., which will then decide whether or not the city is LEED certified.

Community input is being collected now at meetings to see what ideas people have about what can be improved and how it can be implemented.

The city will likely start implementing some changes by early next year.

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