Olympic rings
(Photo credit: Doug Kerr / Flickr)

It’s known as the Miracle on Ice. In 1980, the U.S. men’s hockey team beat the Soviet team and went on to win gold at the Olympics in Lake Placid, New York. Now the region itself has won gold.

In September, the New York Olympic region earned LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. The rating has long been applied to buildings, but now entire cities and communities can become certified for sustainability.

Erik Backus of Clarkson University helped the region with its application. He says participating communities measure their performance in key areas such as greenhouse gas emissions, waste diversion rates, or vehicle miles traveled per year per person.

Then they set goals for improvement. Backus says the Olympic region will try to reduce how many miles people drive. That means finding ways to help visitors get to popular hiking spots without a car – for example, by creating connecting trails or offering a shuttle.

Backus says the region’s economy depends on the climate, and global warming will lead to more days without snow.

“Those are days you’re not having people skiing,” he says. “Those are days you’re not generating revenue to run these facilities.”

So he says the region embraces environmental action.

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Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media.

Topics: Jobs & Economy