Billings is the only city in Montana that has achieved gold status on the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)  ranking system. According to the press release, LEED was created by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). It focuses on environmentally friendly innovations for cities. 

The city of Billings earned LEED for Cities Certification by submitting details of existing projects to strategies utilized in the city to improve sustainability and living standards for Billings citizens. The program aims to help cities measure the performance of natural systems and energy emissions. It also improves transportation, land use, waste, water waste, and overall quality of life. 

“Billings understands the value of LEED and through certification is setting goals and deploying strategies that are appropriate for their local environment and residents,” said President and CEO of USGBC, Peter Templeton. “Each new LEED certification is one step closer to revolutionizing the places where we live, learn, work and play.”

Billings has historically created over 100 energy-efficient projects, using over 700,000 dollars in customer USB for 25 projects. One project includes LED lighting installed throughout areas of the city like the airport, parking garages, and fire station. These lights were also installed at the Stillwater building, which will be the new city hall, and at parks, water treatment and reclamation, the police barn, and the police evidence center. 17 lighting projects at the airport from 2021-2022 save over 222,000-kilowatt hours each year.

The city also owns two LEED platinum buildings. One is the MET Transit center, the first new transposition system in the nation to achieve LEED Platinum in 2010. The Billings Public Library also achieved LEED platinum in 2014. Both of these buildings are estimated to save at least 52,367-kilowatt hours yearly.

Billings’ partnership with the Montana-Dakota Utilities (MDU) Company built a methane harvest facility at the city’s landfill, the only kind in Montana. MDU invented 10 million dollars to create a facility that removes landfill gas and converts it into renewable gas that would otherwise be transmitted into the atmosphere. The city is not working on a project to convert garbage trucks into vehicles that use compressed natural gas. 

There are plenty more LEED-certified accomplishments in Montana. The effort to become a LEED-certified city was made possible by the Energy and Conservation Committee (ECC), created by the Billings City Council in 2019. The committee comprises seven citizens with a background in conservation and energy. 

In a written statement from ECCC, they explain that research and documentation “revealed tremendous efforts by City staff and department leadership over the last ten years to implement innovative projects to make the city more energy and resource efficient and sustainable.”

Billings is the 21st city to become LEED Gold-certified city. Over 200 cities and communities worldwide are working to create sustainable progress through the LEED program.