Songdo named first pre-certified LEED city

17th June 2017

The Songdo International Business District (Songdo IBD) in South Korea has become the first city to earn pre-certification for the US Green Building Council’s (USGBC) new ‘LEED for Cities’ classification.

LEED for Cities addresses sustainability, quality of life, education, prosperity, equity, public health and safety. The city is already home to 2 million square metres of LEED-certified space which accounts for 40 percent of all LEED-certified space in South Korea.

“LEED for Cities started in September 2016,” Vatsal Bhatt, Director of Cities and Neighbourhood Developments, USGBC, explained to Cities Today in Songdo, during the New Cities Summit. “We want to really talk about cities’ progress, where they are and where are they going and to measure this progress. We certify them based on their progress.”

Songdo IBD, home to nearly 50,000 residents and 50,000 jobs, is a greenfield city that grew up out from reclaimed land in the Yellow Sea, west of Seoul. Bhatt said that the Council has been working with the city for the last year to “get them to this level” and build up “the momentum to push the envelope to get things done.”

The new LEED for Cities precertification provides cities and communities with a framework for recording, measuring and managing the performance of water consumption, energy use, human experience, waste and transport through Green Business Certification Incorporation’s (GBCI) new Arc performance platform.

Bhatt added that the new LEED for Cities framework provides both citizens and their leaders with a detailed view of city and community-wide performance.

“It means a lot to us as we are making Songdo and other areas in IFEZ [Incheon Free Economic Zone] smarter and greener,” said Jeong-bok Yoo, Mayor of Incheon Metropolitan City. “Residents in Songdo will be proud of the environment leading to energy saving and doing something for our next generation.”

Bhatt added that the council is working with other new cities but hopes to include all ‘new’ cities.

“The speed that Songdo has taken in other LEED categories–to go from pre-certification to certification–is pretty quick,” added Bhatt. “If everything goes well they could get certification within three months. That’s why they are the first city.”

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