USGBC announces Songdo IBD as the first to earn LEED for Communities Precertification
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Incheon, South Korea – On 16 June 2017, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) announced that Songdo International Business District (Songdo IBD), which is home to nearly 50,000 residents and 50,000 jobs, has earned precertification utilising LEED for Communities. LEED for Cities and LEED for CitiesLEED for Communities address sustainability, quality of life, education, prosperity, equity, public health and safety. The announcement was made at the 2017 edition of the New Cities Summit in Songdo.

“The sustainability mandates we set for Songdo IBD have always envisioned how the quality of life for our residents, workers and visitors could be enhanced by a commitment to environmentally responsible development,” said Stan Gale, chairman of Gale International, the co-developer of Songdo. “LEED for Communities certification will further validate Songdo's commitment to be the vanguard of smart sustainable urban transformation,” added Mr Gale.

This pre-certification provides cities and communities with a framework for recording, measuring and managing the performance of water consumption, energy use, human experience, waste and transportation through Green Business Certification Inc.’s (GBCI) new Arc performance platform.

“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,” said Mahesh Ramanujam, chief executive officer and president of USGBC and GBCI. “And now more than ever, local governments are laboratories of innovation and social problem solving,” added Mr Ramanujam.

The LEED green building rating system is administered by GBCI, the premier organization for independently recognizing excellence in green business industry performance and practice globally.

Leaders, especially in growing cities, have enormous opportunity to initiate a dynamic dialogue with citizens and invite them to contribute in the city’s progress. LEED for Cities is a framework that 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 smarter and greener,” said Incheon Metropolitan City Mayor Jeong-bok Yoo. “Residents in Songdo will be proud of the environment leading to energy saving and doing something for our next generation.”

Added Incheon Free Economic Zone Authority Commissioner Young Geun Lee: “This is great news to Incheon as this is the first ever LEED precertification given to the district including dozens of buildings in Songdo. ‘Go Green’ is one of our priorities for our people and the environment. This is a first and great step and will continue to encourage and promote ongoing efforts.”

Songdo IBD, located in Incheon, South Korea, is widely recognised as the world’s first greenfield, sustainable “smart” city. Since construction began just over 10 years ago, it has grown to include more than 1,300 retail and hospitality businesses and numerous international corporations and NGOs. With nearly 70 percent of its space built out, Songdo IBD is home to 22 million square feet of LEED-certified space. Currently, the business district accounts for 40 percent of all LEED-certified space in South Korea.

South Korea is the fifth largest country outside the U.S. for LEED-certified buildings with more than 6.5 million gross square metres of certified space. Recently, USGBC and the U.S. Seoul Metropolitan Government signed an agreement to accelerate LEED, the world’s premiere green building rating system, in Seoul. The partnership is an effort to lay the groundwork for further sustainable development and performance in Seoul through LEED certification as a way to help mitigate climate change.

“For years, U.S. Green Building Council has been leading the way in promoting more environmentally focused development and it’s LEED initiative has led to healthier and greener buildings in cities around the world,” said John Rossant, chairman, New Cities Foundation. “This recognition of Songdo and important step on the path to LEED for Communities certification acknowledges this exceptional, greenfield city. We are delighted such recognition has come during the New Cities Summit focused on better, more healthy cities,” added Mr Rossant.