2012 Large Community Finalists - Sustainable Community Awards


Boston, MA

Chicago, IL

Las Vegas, NV


Boston, Massachusetts

Boston is being honored for its broad sustainability strategy, including not only traditional measures of environmental sustainability, but also economic vitality, public health, educational attainment, public safety, and social equity.

Boston has developed a variety of partnerships, programs, and regulations to meet Mayor Menino’s bold goals for sustainability and climate action. The city is working closely with state and  federal partners to implement sustainability programs and advocate for further policy developments to assist Boston achieving a more sustainable future. Not waiting for state or federal action alone, Boston developed a host of partnerships, from the CEO-level Boston Green Ribbon Commission to community-based organizations. The city is developing programs and tools to promote sustainability, from green building standards to re-engineering Boston streets for the future.

Given the inextricable ties between energy conservation, transportation, energy generation, waste management, greenhouse gas emissions, and climate adaptation, Boston has ongoing initiatives in all of these areas for its own municipal operations and its residents, businesses, and institutions.  “A Climate of Progress” is Boston’s comprehensive plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 25% by the year 2020.

Boston leaders believe sustainability will bring the city many economic gains. For example, meeting energy and greenhouse gas reduction goals will produce net savings of $2 billion in energy costs for residents, businesses, and institutions by 2020. Furthermore, Bostonians will benefit from improved public health and reduced health care costs, as well as reductions in air pollution and traffic congestion and a safer, cleaner environment.

Chicago, Illinois

Chicago is being honored for the Chicago Climate Action Plan (CCAP), the city’s sustainability plan focused on reducing the impacts of and preparing for climate change. The CCAP set a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80% relative to 1990 levels by 2050, with an interim goal of a 25% reduction relative to 1990 levels by 2020.

CCAP has 26 specific greenhouse gas reduction targets, complemented by nine adaptive actions that roll up into five comprehensive strategies:

Chicago's 5 CCAP Strategies
  • 1. Energy-efficient buildings
  • 2. Clean and renewable energy sources
  • 3. Improved transportation options
  • 4. Reduced waste and industrial pollution
  • 5. Adaptation

Because of its detailed approach to performance measurement, with specific goals for each of the plan’s 35 actions, Chicago is able to achieve measurable success, increase accountability, and share progress with oversight and the public. In addition to its greenhouse gas emissions reductions, Chicago is measuring how CCAP is enhancing quality of life in Chicago, especially through a healthier environment and improved economic growth.

CCAP Results:
  • Chicago’s environment has been enhanced by: the addition of 3.6 million trees covering 17.2% of Chicago’s tree canopy
  • Trips using public transportation increased to 500 million rides taken annually
  • Retrofitting 20,000 homes to increase energy efficiency by 30%

 Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas is being honored for "Green Chips," a nonprofit organization whose mission is to encourage and facilitate environmental sustainability initiatives in Southern Nevada. The long-term goal of Green Chips is to make the Southern Nevada region a national leader in environmental sustainability and energy efficiency. Green Chips functions as an umbrella organization to raise awareness; to gather financing sources to advance specific sustainability projects; and to coordinate a green identity for the region.

Green Chips' Achievements
  • Reducing the city carbon footprint by 10%
  • Reducing electricity consumption by 5%
  • Attaining a 10% renewable energy portfolio standard
  • Consuming 90% cleaner burning, domestically produced alternative fuels
  • Adopting a form-based sustainability zoning code
  • Progressively adopting energy codes 30% more efficient than the former 2006 energy code.

About the Siemens Sutainable Community Awards

The Siemens Sustainable Community Awards applaud the nation’s foremost examples of local public and private entities working in partnership to take on the challenge of sustainable development. The finalist recognition goes to local governments, chambers of commerce, convention bureaus, economic development authorities, and similar organizations that have made exceptional contributions towards long-term social and economic development in their local communities. The Large Community category is for cities with more than 500,000 residents.