As one of the fastest growing cities in the country, Raleigh, North Carolina has been dedicated to environmental sustainability and innovation for many years. Initiatives are integrated throughout all city departments and have support from all levels of city government.

In 2006, the City Council created the Environmental Advisory Board to advise them on environmental matters such as fuel efficiency, energy efficient buildings, climate protection, and environmental education. In 2008, they hired their first sustainability manager tasked with making Raleigh a national leader in sustainable cities. Most recently, in 2009‐2010, the city created and staffed the Office of Sustainability to manage sustainability policies, programs, and resource development.

Raleigh has been at the forefront when developing innovative pilot programs to enhance the city’s sustainability goals. One such project focused on alternate fueling infrastructure and fleet conversion. Installing hybrid-electric vehicle plug-in stations, Raleigh is now a national leader in EV infrastructure development.

Creating a multi‐agency Economic Development Group comprised of city staff, businesses, and non‐profits, Raleigh has proven to be competitive player in the green economy. With its Green Building Training and Certification program, the community is developing a workforce with new skills across a broad spectrum of sustainable fields including LEED, green cleaning, sustainable landscaping and solar installations. In the first year of the program, more than 200 workers were trained.

In all Raleigh buildings over 10,000 square feet, the city has adopted LEED Silver standard. Traditional lighting is being replaced with LED throughout the city including traffic signals, streetlights, parking decks, buildings, and public art. Through energy retrofits in Raleigh facilities, the city says it has seen more than $100,000 in annual savings from just two of the 100+ buildings, again proving the clear link between environmental and economic sustainability.

As a winner of the Siemens Sustainable Community Award in the mid-size community category, Raleigh serves as an inspiration for other mid-size American cities. The wide range of initiatives implemented, along with the collaboration at all levels of government and within the community, has resulted in improved economic strength, social equity and environmental stewardship.

(Source: U.S. Chamber of Commerce Business Civic Leadership Center)

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