According to the Florida Times-Union, Atlantic Beach, which is just east of Jacksonville, has started the process to be a certified LEED city, which would be a first in Florida. Oddly enough, there are no LEED certified buildings in town. The 14,000-citizen city is tapping into "LEED for Cities and Communities," a pilot program sponsored by the U.S. Green Building Council, and so far has $16,000 invested in the effort.

The city could be certified in May under a program called LEED for Cities and Communities, said Sarah Boren, a director of the council’s Florida chapter. Other Florida cities have sought LEED designations through a separate organization that merged with the council last year, but Boren said Atlantic Beach could be first under the building council’s pilot program.

The city’s path to LEED is scheduled to be outlined this summer in a case study published by the University of North Florida. The participants are touting it already.“This is going to have ... benefits for us that are immeasurable,” Mayor Ellen Glasser told a roomful of people at a LEED forum in April.

Glasser said the process fit with a chain of objectives city leaders outlined last year in a visioning process that included being resilient, green and inclusive. Chasing LEED bona fides became a systematic way to do that. LEED uses checklists of criteria to quantify steps people are taking — or missing — to act green and sustainably.

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