The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has introduced a new grant program, created with support from the Bank of America Charitable Foundation, to recognize the green building achievements of U.S. cities pursuing LEED for Cities certification.

The LEED for Cities grant will provide financial, educational, and technical aid for cities in pursuit of LEED for Cities certification. The LEED for Cities program evaluates U.S. cities based on 14 key environmental metrics, including energy, water, waste, safety, and health.

The first six recipients of the grant are San Jose, Calif.; Denver, Colo.; Phoenix, Ariz.; Atlanta, Ga.; Washington, D.C.; and Chicago, Ill. Washington, D.C. and Phoenix are the first cities certified through the program; both achieved LEED Platinum certification for their performance.

“A sustainable city not only focuses on the environmental footprint but also how it is working to provide a better quality of life for its residents,” says Mahesh Ramanujam, president and CEO of USGBC. “LEED has been a transformative tool for buildings, and we are taking what we learned and applying it to help cities achieve a higher level of performance. LEED for Cities helps tell a sustainability story in a way that encourages a city’s citizens to be more engaged, and with the support of the Bank of America Charitable Foundation, these six grant recipients are committing to delivering a more sustainable future today.”

“Through this program, cities where our employees work and live will help to accelerate the transition to a more sustainable, lower-carbon future. At our company, and with support from USGBC, we have introduced significant goals to reduce the environmental impacts of the bank’s operations, including becoming carbon neutral and purchasing 100 percent renewable electricity by 2020. We currently have more than 18 million square feet of LEED certified workspace across our global operations, including 150 LEED certified financial centers,” says Alex Liftman, Global Environmental executive at Bank of America.

The cities’ performance metrics will be tracked through Arc, a digital platform that generates performance scores in each category on a scale from 0 to 100. A total of 25 cities are participating in LEED for Cities across the world.