San Jose Wins Siemens Sustainable Community Award

San Jose Wins Siemens Sustainable Community Award

San Jose in California's Silicon Valley, Raleigh, N.C., and the Kansas town of Greensburg -- cities large and small that are recasting themselves as green building and eco-innovation hotspots -- have received Siemens Sustainable Community Awards.

The honors, which recognize outstanding sustainability efforts by a large city, a medium-sized one and a small community, were awarded this week by the U.S. Chamber Business Civic Leadership Center in partnership with Siemens USA in a ceremony in Philadelphia.

San Jose won in the big-city category for aggressively working to implement its sweeping Green Vision. Introduced in 2007, the goals of the 10-point plan include sourcing electricity to 100 percent clean, renewable energy, reducing per capita energy use by 50 percent, achieving zero waste to landfill, creating 25,000 cleantech jobs by 2022, and more. The city's progress is charted on its Green Vision site, described by the chamber and will be the subject of a presentation later this month.

In its latest Green Vision development, San Jose launched its solar group-buy program as a pilot for employees and retirees in 2010, and then began an education program last month to show companies and other local governments how they can replicate the model to make solar power installations more accessible to employees and residents by leveraging the power of their numbers.

As one point of the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill Research Triangle, Raleigh was recognized for its comprehensive game plan to become a 21st Century City of Innovation. The city's efforts include being an early adopter of LED lighting, partnering with Cree to become the world's first LED city, and being a plug-in pioneer for EV infrastructure.

Leveled by a tornado in May 2007, Greensburg, Kansas, set about rebuilding itself as a green model community and now has the most LEED-Platinum buildings per capita in the world.   "Greensburg is transforming devastation into opportunity," said GreenBiz.com guest writer Leanne Tobias in a 2009 post. She wrote:

"The new master plan is based on sustainable principles; all public buildings greater than 4,000 square feet must conform to LEED Platinum requirements and achieve energy-efficiency at least 42 percent greater than local code; new townhomes for moderate-income families have been certified LEED Gold. The greening of Greensburg has brought publicity and economic activity to a community that had previously been in decline."

More information about the Siemens Sustainable Community Awards is available at sustainablecommunity.uschamber.com

Image CC licensed by Wikimedia Commons user JaGa.