The City of Columbia becomes the first city/county in South Carolina to receive LEED Certification

July 19, 2023

The City of Columbia Public Works Department announced at last night’s City Council meeting that the City of Columbia has achieved LEED Gold certification. The City of Columbia is part of a growing group to be certified using the LEED for Cities rating system. The City becomes the first city or county in South Carolina to receive LEED certification and joins a group of 40 cities or counties worldwide to garner this recognition for its sustainability and resilience achievements. LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, was created by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and is the world’s most widely used green building rating system.

“It is an honor to be the first city or county in South Carolina to ever receive LEED certification, “ Mayor Daniel Rickenmann said. “Our City didn’t just gain certification, but was knocking on the door steps to achieve the highest level of certification. We still have so much we can do to make our City more sustainable and inclusive for everyone, but this truly shows how much we are actively doing to make Columbia a better City to live, work and play.”

The City of Columbia achieved LEED certification for implementing practical and measurable strategies and solutions aimed at improving sustainability and the standard of living for residents. LEED is designed to help buildings, communities and cities achieve high performance in key areas of human and environmental health. The categories that LEED uses to grade a project and why they are good for business and people are:

  • Integrative Process
  • Natural Systems and Ecology
  • Transportation and Land Use
  • Energy and Greenhouse Gas Emissions
  • Water Efficiency
  • Materials and Resources
  • Quality of Life
  • Innovation and Regional Priorities

“Transforming our communities and cities to be more sustainable happens structure by structure, block by block and neighborhood by neighborhood,” said Peter Templeton, president and CEO, USGBC. “As the first city in the state to achieve LEED for Cities and Communities certification, Columbus is leading in the state by setting goals and deploying strategies that are appropriate for its local environment and residents. The work that Columbus does in ensuring a more sustainable future is vital for not only its residents but for all South Carolinians”

LEED enables the City of Columbia to measure and track outcomes and are evaluated against key metrics that include energy, water, waste, transportation, education, health, safety, prosperity and equitability. This recognition also allows the City of Columbia to potentially apply for additional grants that will assist with the City’s continued efforts to become more sustainable and resilient.

About the U.S. Green Building Council

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is committed to a healthy, resilient and equitable future for all through the development of green buildings, cities and communities. For more than 20 years, USGBC has been advancing green building practices through the development of LEED, the world’s most widely used green building program. With the support of thousands of members, volunteers and partners, USGBC provides robust green building education courses, a rigorous professional credentialing program, and advocates for effective public policies. It convenes an international network of green building and sustainability leaders through the annual Greenbuild International Conference & Expo, and forward thinking programs, including the Center for Green Schools. For more information, visit and connect on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.