No special treatment here. The new award is not named for Daley just because it will be presented for the first time in Chicago, the site of USGBC’s annual Greenbuild conference this year. The award carries his name because Daley has been a driving force in advancing the greening of communities, and encouraging municipalities around the world to follow suit. “USGBC is incredibly honored to be part of Mayor Daley’s legacy as a world leader in demonstrating how a nurturing and sustainable city can be the highest service to a community,” Roger Platt, senior vice president of USGBC’s Global Policy & Law division, noted in a prepared statement. “This award is in recognition of the Mayor’s visionary and planet-changing leadership that has created the amazing legacy of a green city.”
Chicago, one of the first cities to implement USGBC’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System in public commercial and residential properties, is home to the highest number of LEED certified buildings in the country. In addition to a bevy of libraries, schools, police stations and privately-owned buildings, Chicago has its share of LEED-certified multi-family properties and the numbers just keep growing. The Presidential Towers, acquired by Waterton Residential in a joint venture with the California State Teachers’ Retirement System for $475 million in 2007, commenced the process of obtaining LEED certification last year.
The creation of LEED-certified communities has certainly caught on across the country, and not just in building-by-building endeavors. Many developers are erecting major mixed-use projects with the intent of obtaining LEED-ND, or LEED-Neighborhood Developments, certification. Among the growing list of projects is Rockville, Maryland’s Twinbrook Station, a transit-oriented development by The JBG Companies and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. Ultimately, the Washington, D.C.-area mixed-use development will feature 1,595 multifamily units—15 percent of which will be designated as affordable housing—as well as 220,000 square feet of retail space, 325,000 square feet of office space, and a public park.
Daley will receive his namesake award at a ceremony during USGBC’s conference, which will take place November 17-19. Future recipients of what is certain to become a coveted acknowledgment need not be responsible for spreading green across an entire city or neighborhood. Those behind individual properties, including apartment and condominium buildings, will be in the running. “We’re seeing a growing number of multifamily projects; there are currently 2,771 projects participating in LEED either as a certified or registered project,” Ashley Katz, Communications Manager, tells MHN. The figure includes affordable housing communities, too. And what was once an incredibly vast pool of real estate companies that were wary about investing money upfront to make low-income housing developments green is dwindling. “We are seeing this sector continue to grow and interestingly, 42 percent of certified residential projects are affordable housing and 59 percent of registrations in 2010 year-to-date have been affordable housing.”