The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI), the organization that certifies LEED green building projects globally, announced that Savona, Italy, is the first LEED  certified city in Europe. Savona was awarded LEED Gold through USGBC's LEED for Cities program.

LEED for Cities is a certification program that addresses city planning, development and operations, while also improving life for citizens around the world. The program combines sustainability, social equity and human experience with technology and analytics and is based on LEED - the world's most widely used program for green buildings and communities.

"We are proud to be recognized as Europe's first LEED city," said Mayor Ilaria Caprioglio of Savona.  "Our commitment is toward shaping a sustainable and resilient urban environment and a safe and equitable society. We believe that LEED for Cities is the instrument to grow awareness about cities' actual performance and future outcome, and support decision makers."

LEED for Cities provides cities with a framework for measuring and managing the performance of water consumption, energy use, human experience, waste and transportation.

The University of Genoa Savona Campus developed a state-of-the art smart polygeneration microgrid combined with a smart energy building. These strategies inspired city officials to set appropriate low-carbon initiatives that will be instrumental in driving the whole city's transformation into a low-impact urban center.

When it comes to human experience, the city seeks to guarantee the safety and health of its inhabitants through such tactics as high air-quality standards that reduce risky conditions for the most sensitive population groups and mitigate urban pollution. Also, local police statistics show that the level of crime in the city is close to zero, thus making Savona a safe and livable city.

"GBCI Europe and USGBC share a vision that buildings and communities will regenerate and sustain the health and vitality of all life within a generation," said Kay Killmann, managing director of GBCI Europe. "And we know that in order to realize a sustainable future for all, the next generation of green building must focus on the development of smart cities and resilient communities. Savona is now the first LEED city in Europe, championing equitable, safe and healthy development policies; implementing interoperable platforms and advanced technologies that improve the performance of the city; and incorporating concepts like wellness and human experience into city planning, development and management."

Cities face many challenges in this day and age - citizens are demanding more transparency and information about the places where they live, work, learn and play. Now more than ever, local governments are becoming laboratories of innovation and are committing to novel ways for social problem solving.

Cities pursuing LEED certification are evaluated across 14 metrics, including energy, waste, water, transportation, education, health, safety and equitability. Cities submit data using Arc, the digital performance platform that generates a performance score between zero and 100 that reflects the outcomes of a city's strategies. Savona now joins other LEED certified cities: Washington, D.C. and Phoenix, Ariz.

The European market has seen high levels of green building and business growth in the last several years. This past April, USGBC held Greenbuild Europe in Berlin, Germany. USGBC also launched GBCI Europe in 2017to facilitate the growth and advocacy of LEED and GBCI's other sustainability programs. GBCI Europe provides local, on-the-ground support to clients and improves access to GBCI's sustainability programs and resources.

Quotes from Sustainability Leaders in Italy:

"The quality and scope of building sustainability assessments are increasing," said Giuliano Dall'Ò, President of GBC Italia.  "The transition from building to community rating systems started with LEED for Neighborhoods. But with LEED for Cities we've noticed a sharp acceleration and interest. We are proud that one of the first certified cities worldwide, and the first in Europe, is the Italian city of Savona. A special thank goes to Mayor Ilaria Caprioglio, who, with her determination, showed that it is possible to realize projects that seemed impossible: a tangible example of good policy."

"I firmly believe that sustainability is the main pillar to build a new development model for our territories, including tourism, green and blue economies, hi-tech/hi-skills industries and health, wellbeing & sport activities," said Prof. Federico Delfino, President of University of Genoa Savona Campus

"We are very happy that the City of Savona has achieved this significant recognition," said Neil Palomba, Managing Director at Costa Crociere. "The decision to work in a structured manner on environmental and social performance is perfectly in line with our strategy of sustainability and relationship with the territory, focused on creating shared value. The Memorandum of Understanding signed with the City of Savona, Costa's home port, goes exactly in this direction. LEED for Cities certification will be a further stimulus to carry out together new projects that support the growth and sustainable development of the city".