JUNE 2011

Sustainability awards bestowed

David Chavern, United States Chamber executive vice president and chief operating officer, and Alison Taylor, Siemens Corporation vice president of sustainability, presented local leaders from San Jose, California; Raleigh, North Carolina; and Greensburg, Kansas with Sustainable Community Award trophies. Nearly 90 different communities from 40 states applied for the award.

In the category of large community, San Jose, California, won the 2011 Siemens Sustainable Community Award for its adoption of Green Vision, a 10-point roadmap for innovation and environmental responsibility that serves to strengthen economic opportunity and prosperity. With $4 billion in venture capital funding for clean technology and a goal of creating 25,000 clean tech jobs – of which, more than 4,000 have been created since 2007 – San Jose shows how environmental innovation and economic opportunity can go hand in hand.

In the midsize community category, Raleigh, North Carolina, won the award for a range of factors including its commitment to developing a “green economy.” The city established the Economic Development Group, comprising government agencies, businesses and community organizations to help make sustainability-based jobs more available to residents. Raleigh created a workforce development program to retrain workers with green skills, training more than 200 people in the first year. Additionally, Raleigh is home to one of the nation’s two LEED Silver convention centers, attracting substantial economic activity that bolsters the entire community.

The winner of the small community category, Greensburg, Kansas, overcame challenging odds to become one of the world’s first municipalities to build from the ground up with a community master plan tied to sustainability principles. In May 2007, Greensburg, a two mile-wide town, captured headlines when it was leveled by an EF-5 tornado. Its commitment to rebuilding and reinventing itself through sustainable living and a healthy environment is at the heart of the town’s recovery from the disaster. Greensburg has achieved the most LEED-platinum buildings per capita in the world. To date, more than 60 local businesses have re-opened or are in the process. “The Greensburg Model” has led to new tourism opportunities, as people travel from across the world to experience the town’s green rebuilding projects.

Other finalists in the large, midsize, and small categories in the 2011 competition included: Baltimore, Maryland; Columbus, Ohio; North Little Rock, Arkansas; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Brea, California; and Burlington, Vermont. A panel of five judges selected the finalists and winners based on the communities’ approach to achieving economic, environmental and overarching sustainability.