Friday, March 30, 2012

Happy Birthday, LEED!

Brendan Owens, LEED AP, P.E.
Vice President, LEED Technical Development
U.S. Green Building Council

12 years, 12,000 commercial projects. Don’t forget to raise a pint or stick a candle in that cupcake to celebrate the market force that is green building - and of course, to celebrate all of the amazing, thoughtful, ground-breaking projects that have brought us here. We'd love if you share your favorite LEED project in celebration of this milestone in the comments.

Happy birthday LEED!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

“Like TurboTax for LEED” - GSA Launches Building Portfolio Management System

Jeremy Cohen
Manager, Public Sector Programs
U.S. Green Building Council

One of the nation’s largest public real estate organizations is launching a new building portfolio management system, designed to benchmark performance in sustainable building operations across its portfolio - roughly 375 million square feet.

Game on.

“Our new management information system is like TurboTax for LEED certification”, said David Gray, Sustainability Manager at GSA.

The system is the backbone of GSA’s application to the LEED Volume Program for Operations & Maintenance, a program through which GSA intends to certify 50 buildings by the end of 2012. The federal agency has a long history using LEED as a tool for evaluating and measuring achievements in sustainable design.

The John F. Kennedy Federal Building in Boston: One of
GSA's existing buildings undergoing a greening process
“Our new tool cuts documentation time for LEED certification in half and allowed us to design a process where field offices can achieve certification at no cost beyond staff hours, as long as the facility meets the energy and water prerequisites.”

Sound too good to be true? It doesn’t stop there: The tool will help GSA comply with Executive Order 13514, Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance. The order sets Guiding Principles for federal agencies, like water use reduction and energy use optimization, and requires that at least 15% of each agency’s existing buildings above 5,000 gross square feet comply by 2015. GSA has set their target at 18% of their portfolio, which chalks up to 236 facilities.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A Codes Retrospective: With IgCC’s Arrival, Jurisdictions Can Now Raise the Floor with this Important New Regulatory Tool

Jeremy Sigmon, LEED® AP BD+C
Manager, Building Codes Advocacy
U.S. Green Building Council

Today is an important day for USGBC and for green building. It marks the culmination of more than six years of work to turn a crazy idea into a tangible, attainable reality.

Today, the nation’s leading code developer, which emerged from the legacy regional code bodies, has published a model green building code. The International Green Construction Code (IgCC) was developed by almost everybody and, importantly, approved by the Code Council’s membership of code officials. It includes the second fully-published version of a green building standard that USGBC dreamed up with ASHRAE at Greenbuild in November of 2005.

Today we also celebrate the 12,000th LEED certified commercial building, totaling more than 8.4 billion square feet of LEED certified space, and the beginning of a final stage of development of LEED's next version. After nearly 20,000 comments during three rounds of public review, today begins the effort to respond and fine-tune LEED 2012 prior to member ballot this summer.

I’d like to travel back to that early moment in 2005 when the crazy idea of a green building code was first conceived. At that time, dozens (soon-to-be hundreds) of local governments were searching for a prescriptive, code-intended tool that could extend protections from the human and environmental health risks illuminated by greener building practice. LEED was taking off at an amazing trajectory, and new rating systems were under development for both homes and core & shell buildings to add to the LEED suite of new construction, existing buildings and commercial interiors rating systems.

The Road to Rio+20 Reminds Us to Think Globally and Act Locally

Maggie Comstock
Associate, Policy
U.S. Green Building Council

On Monday, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) convened the fourth installment of the Road to Rio+20 series. The series was born out of the need for stakeholder awareness and input in the rapidly approaching Rio+20 conference in June. The main goal of the Summit—the growth of the green economy in the context of poverty alleviation and sustainable development—have implications for each of us. The Road to Rio series seeks to bridge the gap between global conversations on sustainable development and on-the-ground challenges and solutions in urban sectors and the built environment.

Roger Platt and Lawrence Gumbiner
The New York installment of the series, “Exploring the Role of Cities and Buildings in the Green Economy,” coincided with the UNCSD intercessional meeting (or preparatory meeting) underway at the UN Headquarters. Skanska’s flagship offices at the Empire State Building set the stage for a larger than life cast of experts as part of the program. Keynote remarks by the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Department of State Lawrence Gumbiner (seated on the left of the photo), addressed the state of negotiations as well as the goals for it outcome:

 “Rio+20 should be a powerful, aspirational event that inspires a new generation like its predecessor did 20 years ago. To do so, we cannot simply repeat the constructs, negotiating positions and symbols of the past. We must be forward-leaning and inclusive, and utilize all of the technologies and tools available to us in 2012 to assure that not just those present in Rio, but all stakeholders have a voice and can participate.”

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

President Obama Underscores Building Efficiency as Part of the Energy Solution

Nathan Robb
USGBC Maryland

“If we don’t develop other sources of energy, if we don’t develop the technology to use less energy to make our economy more energy-efficient, then we will always be dependent on foreign countries for our energy needs.”

President Obama made this statement last week before a packed auditorium (a crowd I was fortunate enough to be a part of) at Prince George’s Community College in Maryland. The President laid out his vision of America’s energy future, a vision where true energy independence doesn’t only come from energy development, but through energy efficiency.

This is something all of us in the green community understand. While developing new sources of energy is important - especially for an “all-of-the-above strategy” that harnesses renewable energy forms like wind, solar, and bio fuels - our country will never be truly energy independent unless we are smarter and more efficient in using energy. This means we need to reduce our energy consumption through the low-hanging fruit of energy efficiency, which starts with better buildings.

Introducing 12,000: A Milestone for LEED

Ashley Katz
Media Manager
U.S. Green Building Council

Twelve years after the first LEED certifications in 2000, today we announced the 12,000th commercial project has been certified (!). Without a doubt, this calls for celebration: If you've worked on one of these 12,000 LEED-certified projects, we invite you to join the conga line forming around our headquarters in Washington, DC (please call ahead, though). Thank you for tipping the green building scales to 12,000 - and thank you for your commitment to building better, healthier, greener buildings.

Without further ado, we give you number 12,000: The LEED Gold Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge. Paid for by the Recovery Act and rebuilt after the original facility was destroyed by Hurricane Ike in 2008, the facility will house new wildlife exhibits, an environmental education center, and National Parks employees.

Source: Bernard Freeman, Division of Engineering Chief for the SW Region USFWS

Read the press release »

The True Story of the EBies

Laurie Kerr
Senior Policy Advisor
NYC Mayor's Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability

Several years ago, a group of us Urban Greeners were chatting about how to scale up energy efficiency in existing buildings – as we so often do for fun. Someone sighed and said for the umpteenth time, “The problem is, correcting operating schedules and insulating steam pipes just isn’t as sexy as installing solar panels or bamboo flooring…” At which point I thought, “Sexiness is in the eye of the beholder isn’t it? Fashions change. We need to make efficiency and existing buildings sexy, even glamorous!” And with that, the idea for the EBies was born.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Campaigning for Better Building Codes

Matt Pearce
Campaign Specialist
U.S. Green Building Council

Earlier this month, USGBC launched our seventh and final campaign of the 2012 Advocacy Campaign Agenda: Build Better Codes. In this campaign, USGBC is calling on its community to actively engage in the greening of state and local building codes.

Building codes define a state or community’s minimum expectations for all buildings. As such, this campaign to build better, greener codes plays an important role in enabling market transformation towards a market norm of healthy, low-impact, responsible and efficient buildings and neighborhoods.

USGBC and many of its partners have long been active in developing a response to the demand for regulatory guidance for better, greener buildings. Building energy codes have filled some of the void, but fall far short of addressing the much broader spectrum of building-related risks to human and environmental health. State and local governments across the country will get their wish next week when the 2012 version of the International Green Construction Code (IgCC) is released. The IgCC, which includes ASHRAE Standard 189.1 as an optional path to compliance, serves to provide any code adopting body with the today’s best-available starting point for extending the benefits of green buildings to all buildings designed, built or renovated in a community.

With all this new material for code adopting bodies to consider – and many already are – USGBC’s Build Better Codes campaign calls on the full community of green building professionals to coach these codes from idea into reality. I hope you’ll join us in our effort to Build Better Codes.

$2 Billion Home Energy Rebate Program Introduced in Congress

Bryan Howard
Legislative Director
U.S. Green Building Council

Yesterday, Representative David McKinley (WV) and Representative Peter Welch (VT) introduced bi-partisan legislation that would jumpstart and accelerate opportunities for energy upgrades in existing residences. The Home Owner Managing Energy Savings (HOMES) Act seeks to reward homeowners for reduced energy consumption as a result of a qualified home energy efficiency retrofit. Homeowners who show a 20 percent energy savings will receive a $2,000 rebate. For every 5 percent in additional energy savings, they can receive another $1,000 – up to a total of $8,000 or 50 percent of the project’s cost.

Rep. David McKinley (left) and Rep. Peter Welch (right)

Does this bill sounds familiar? It should. The HOMES Act repurposes a number of policy items included in Home Star Energy Retrofit Act, which passed the House with bipartisan support last Congress but was not able to make it through the Senate.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

One Small Button for Man, One Giant Leap for Data Access

Jason Hartke
Vice President, National Policy
U.S. Green Building Council

Today the White House launched the Green Button Initiative, which connects more than 15 million Americans with their utility providers for streamlined access to their energy data. Nine utilities and electricity suppliers initially signed up for this landmark program designed to enable consumers to put their energy consumption into their own hands.
Green Button, elegant in its simplicity, is ultimately about empowering millions of Americans with easy access to the foundational information they need to take action and reduce their energy consumption.

Green Button will create new opportunities to advance green building and provide a valuable, new tool for practitioners. Widespread access to energy use information will help homeowners and commercial property managers understand their electrical energy consumption and create the starting point for concrete steps to reduce wasted energy, save money, improve performance and ultimately create buildings that are better for people and the environment.

As the old adage goes, “You can’t manage what you can’t measure.” Without baseline energy data, home and building owners are unable to benchmark for energy improvements. This data will invariably drive the action we want to make significant reductions in energy use.

LEED 2012 and Hospitality: One More Reason to Party at the Holiday Inn

Kal Wellman
Associate, LEED
U.S. Green Building Council

Nothing makes for a good old fashioned hotel party quite like the efficient use of cooling tower water and improved outdoor air intake flow rates. Not enough to quench your party-going thirst? How about some building-level energy and water meters to liven up the occasion?

Nerdy LEED jokes (which are commonplace here at the USGBC office) aside, consumer demand for green hotels is driving hotel owners to rethink the way they do business, leading to an increase in LEED certifications for both new and existing hotels around the world. Major companies like Marriott, Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG), and Starwood are leading this effort and setting the bar high by participating in USGBC’s LEED Volume Program.

LEED-certified Proximity Hotel in Greensboro, NC

While this growing momentum could signal a coming paradigm shift in the hospitality industry, hotels still face a number of key challenges due to their uniqueness as a space type. For example, a hotel’s occupancy can vary daily as people check-in and out of their rooms, and they usually operate around the clock in order to provide the best level of service for their guests. Hotels also typically include a variety of on-site amenities like restaurants, bars, gyms and pools. These amenities, partnered with the need to supply energy and water to every individual guest room, result in drastically different water and energy needs compared to a typical commercial office building.

Resilient Buildings and Self-Reliance Will Strengthen Haiti Now and into the Future

Jeremy Sigmon, LEED® AP BD+C
Manager, Building Codes Advocacy
U.S. Green Building Council

Rubble and tent villages in every direction. Mountains of trash with no place to go. A stench that makes your stomach turn.

Canals full of stagnant, disease-filled water. Thirsty livestock and nesting mosquitoes competing for the same dirty water.

A denuded landscape with hardly any nutrient-rich soil left to retain the precious water needed to support replanting.

Millions of people with limited or no access to basic amenities like clean water, safe shelters, electricity and toilet facilities.

My heart sinks.

Solidarité Market surrounded in trash sometimes taller than trucks on Boulevard La Saline in
Port au Prince. (March 11, 2012)

Tent villages extend to the foothills that, without vegetation, come sliding down when it rains. (Photo taken by my colleague outside of Port au Prince in February, 2012)

Yet I see so many of Haiti’s own smiling amidst these tough times and even tougher conditions. Haiti, with its rich culture and instinct of hope and resolve, is building for a better future, trying to put behind them a government that has failed them time and time again.

This was both my first and last impression of Haiti as I traveled on an old American school bus out of and back into Port au Prince. My many other thoughts and impressions during my seven-day stay were far more hopeful.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Hungry for Data: LEED Targets Data Centers

Corey Enck
Director of Rating System Development, LEED
U.S. Green Building Council

Quick: How did you get to our blog? Did you click on a link via Twitter, or see the article pop up in your RSS reader? However you arrived here, you probably used around 180 KB of data to load this webpage.

Though somewhat intangible, and certainly not of upmost concern to most of us and our rapid-fire browsing, data requires huge amounts of energy to process. Data centers power our appetite for data at all hours of the day. They are the physical embodiments of our everyday data usage – using Google or Yahoo! to search the most recent March Madness upset, posting photos of a recent vacation to Facebook, loading an app on the new iPad 3 - and like every other structure, they can (and should) be built green.

Facebook's LEED-certified data center in Prineville, Ore. Source: Flickr, IntelFreePress

For that reason, we’ve adapted LEED for New Construction and LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance to the particular needs of data centers to ensure that new construction and facility retrofits can successfully pursue and apply LEED.

Sen. Shaheen Hosts Policy Roundtable with GPIC

Christine Knapp
Manager of Public and Client Relations

Note: This blog is reposted from

On Monday, March 19, GPIC hosted a roundtable discussion with two national leaders focused on creating a public policy environment that supports energy efficient retrofits. U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Representative Allyson Schwartz (D-PA) toured the Navy Yard and led a roundtable discussion with high profile experts from industry, academia, economic development agencies and others.

“Sen. Shaheen is a recognized leader on energy efficiency issues, and we’re grateful for her interest and support for GPIC. The roundtable discussion helped GPIC and our allies identify ways in which legislation can help accelerate the market for energy efficient building retrofits” said Dr. Henry C. Foley, Executive Director of GPIC and the Penn State Vice President for Research.

Sen. Shaheen is a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources committee, and introduced the bi-partisan “Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act” that would enact a national energy efficiency strategy. She was one of many members of Congress that met with GPIC leadership in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Energy Town Hall on Energy Innovation Hubs on March 6 in Washington, D.C., in which GPIC participated.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Campaign Advocacy Offers a Menu of Policy Options for Chapters and Legislatures

Matt Pearce
Campaign Specialist
U.S. Green Building Council

USGBC’s 2012 advocacy campaign agenda is designed to empower local advocates to advance USGBC public policy priorities in their state capitols and city halls. Each campaign was launched with a suite of supporting resources to make it easier for advocates and includes a campaign brief and draft legislative text.

Now we want to hear from you. Please click here to fill out a short survey by March 31 on which campaigns you and your chapter will be undertaking in 2012. This information is extremely valuable in helping us create follow up material and additional resources to ensure the success of your campaigns. This survey will better enable us to support your efforts.

USGBC’s 2012 Advocacy campaigns are:
Now that all of the campaigns have been introduced, we will be moving to the next phase of developing additional resources, and providing staff and strategic support for the individual campaigns. Be on the lookout for information on follow-up events and strategy sessions, and in the meantime, all of the recorded calls and accompanying resources are available at The site is be continually updated, so check back often. We look forward to hearing from you!

Creating Healthier Classrooms Through Practical Solutions

Rachel Gutter
Director, Center for Green Schools

Today, the Center for Green Schools at USGBC launched the Green Classroom Professional Certificate, an online course and evaluation designed to educate teachers, principals, administrators and other school staff – like nurses and custodians – on what they themselves can do to improve their current instructional environments. This is the first professional designation USGBC has ever offered to non-green building practitioners, making the basic principles of healthy, high performance operations and maintenance accessible to school building occupants.

The course is packed with practical suggestions and solutions like “what are the three questions you should ask your custodian or building manager about where fresh air comes in and stale air goes out of the classroom,” or why it may not be a good idea to purchase an air freshener to cover up that funky mold smell (because that can actually keep us from identifying the problem). And this course focuses heavily on small steps that classroom leaders can take, rather than technical green building information, making it applicable to virtually anyone interested in improving their educational environment.

Friday, March 16, 2012

May I Borrow Your Jumper Cables?

Lauren Riggs, LEED AP
Manager, LEED Performance
U.S. Green Building Council

“May I borrow some jumper cables?” The brick building asked the building next door. The brick building’s energy use was out of control; It needed to kick-start its efficiency. The building next door answered with Energy Jumpstart, the new pilot prerequisite in USGBC’s Pilot Credit Library. USGBC hopes that this pilot can act as a set of jumper cables to stir up a segment of the buildings market that has the potential to make huge energy efficiency gains.

Source: Charles Williams via Flickr
On March 1, when the third public comment period for LEED 2012 opened, USGBC launched Pilot Credit 67 (aka Energy Jumpstart), a Pilot Alternative Compliance Path for EA Prerequisite 2 in LEED 2009 for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance.

Confused?…let me explain.

If you’re familiar with LEED, you know each LEED prerequisite has mandatory pathways for compliance. For Energy and Atmosphere prerequisite 2, the traditional entry point for most buildings has been an ENERGY STAR rating of 69, a benchmark that certain market segments, such as older buildings, have a particularly tough time meeting. Cue Energy Jumpstart, an alternative path for this prerequisite (and the first pilot alternative compliance path ever), targeted at older buildings with energy challenges.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Bringing Green Building Outcomes to Affordable Homes

Matt Pearce
Campaign Specialist
U.S. Green Building Council

The benefits of green building – quality, healthy and safe environments that are cost effective – should be available to all. These outcomes are especially critical in affordable housing where studies show that income level segments that rely on affordable housing often pay more in utility and water costs then people of with higher incomes. It’s a problem that needs a solution.

To catalyze change and bring more green building outcomes into affordable housing, USGBC recently introduced the Value Quality and Efficient Affordable Housing Campaign. The campaign is aimed at spurring USGBC advocates into action to fight for green building attributes, primarily third party certified green building standards like LEED for Homes, to be included in their states affordable housing policy.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Looking Past the USGBC Plaque to Make Buildings Greener

Leslie Guevarra

Editor's Note: In the runup to the VERGE DC conference, Chris Pyke, the U.S. Green Building Council's research guru, talks about the need for market transformation and the strategy that can make it happen.

Today, more than 1.8 billion square feet of commercial property is certified under the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standards.

And for many, obtaining the shining LEED plaque that attests to green building achievement is a major goal. That's great, say green building advocates, but efforts shouldn't stop there. To transform the built environment in a generation in order to avoid catastrophic damage from climate change lots more needs to happen, and quickly.

To do that, says Chris Pyke, the USGBC's vice president for research, it's necessary to "unpack the plaque" -- to tap into the wellspring of data that's available from buildings themselves about how they are performing.

Resiliency & Sustainability: A Great Convergence and Synergies in Solutions

Jason Hartke
Vice President, National Policy
U.S. Green Building Council

It’s not zero sum. It’s not either/or. It’s not this or that.

Instead, when it comes to sustainability and resiliency, we need (and thankfully we’re seeing) a great convergence.

Not only do the agendas of these two great causes overlap, but their destinies must be forged together.

This is certainly true for the built environment. Just last week, Administrator Craig Fugate of the Federal Emergency Management Agency made the point at our National Press Club event: “Being green is one part of being resilient.”

National Leadership Speaker Series: FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate from U.S. Green Building Council on Vimeo.

At the same event, USGBC, in partnership with the University of Michigan, released a first-of-its-kind report – Green Building and Climate Resilience – showing the myriad ways that green building strategies in LEED support a more resilient built environment.

It Doesn't stop at the LEED Certification Plaque: Why Ongoing Building Performance Tracking Matters

Kal Wellman
Associate, LEED
U.S. Green Building Council

It has become widely accepted across the commercial real estate world that LEED certification has the potential to add value by presenting a number of benefits including higher rental yields, lower vacancy rates, reduced operating costs and improved employee productivity. The extraordinary growth of LEED over the past decade is clear evidence of this industry-wide understanding.

Receiving the LEED plaque should not be the end of the process for building owners. The plaque symbolizes the beginning of a building performance journey, one where data is at the center of attention. Having the ability to measure, track and benchmark a building’s energy and water data can help pinpoint operational inefficiencies within major building systems and can help the management team set actual reduction targets. Don’t believe us? See how it helped the Christman Company.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

We Asked, You Answered: #LEED2012

Rick Fedrizzi
President, CEO & Founding Chairman
U.S. Green Building Council

Last Thursday, many of you – architects, writers, USGBC chapter members, activists, consultants – joined me on Twitter for a live tweet-up on LEED 2012. It was a doozy – and I mean that in the best way. Your questions were thought-provoking and interesting, spanning from building performance to market transformation to the cost of LEED. Thanks to your participation, we covered a lot of ground in one fast-paced hour. If you missed the chat, I’d encourage you to check out my Twitter feed for a recap.

Our Twitter conversation was a snapshot of the vital insight our community has in regards to LEED. I encourage all of you to participate in LEED 2012 public comment, open for just a week more!

I closed the Twitter chat with a question: Tell me about your favorite part of the changes proposed in LEED 2012.

Without further ado, here’s what you had to say:

Senate Hearing Highlights Sustainable Success by the Navy and Marine Corps

Bryan Howard
Legislative Director
U.S. Green Building Council

Senator Jeanne Shaheen (NH) and Senator Mark Warner (VA) convened a field hearing on the USS Kearsarge on the role of the Navy and Marine Corps in reducing energy consumption, minimizing water use and expanding renewable energy generation. As a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Senator Shaheen has been heavily involved in advancing energy efficiency efforts including her work with Senator Rob Portman (OH) on S. 1000, the “Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act.”

The hearing featured testimony from Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, former Senator John Warner of Virginia and other leaders from the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps. While the hearing varied in topics from weapons systems to alternative fuels it did have a fair share of discussion about the role of buildings in driving down energy costs Navy wide.

Monday, March 12, 2012

USGBC and AIA Accomplish Shared Goals for 2011

Maggie Comstock
Associate, Policy
U.S. Green Building Council

Last week, hundreds of architects stormed Washington as part of the American Institute of Architects’ annual Grassroots Leadership and Legislative Conference. Grassroots serves as a forum to convene AIA’s extensive local chapter network, with which USGBC’s local chapters often collaborate. Partnerships are the primary tools in any advocacy organization’s tool belt; however, the ongoing collaboration between the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and the American Institute of Architects (AIA) goes far beyond the average partnership.

USGBC and AIA are natural allies in the green building arena. Over the years, our shared goals for a sustainable built environment have fostered a rich and robust collaboration. This relationship has led to successful outcomes on far too many occasions to name, but here are some of the most notable achievements from 2011.

A Green Building Opportunity: Three Million Strong

Doug Gatlin
Vice President, LEED
U.S. Green Building Council

It’s a great time to be an existing building.

First: President Obama released last year’s Better Buildings Initiative, focusing financing opportunities on commercial retrofits.

Then: USGBC reported that LEED for Existing Buildings project square footage surpassed new construction projects.

Now: A new report has concluded that building reuse almost always offers environmental savings over demolition and new construction.

Empire State Building, LEED Gold.
Photo credit: John Donges, Flickr
It’s a hat trick for existing buildings, the many millions of them across the world. There are 838,337 alone in New York City, some three million skyscrapers across the U.S., and 71 billion total square feet covering the country. Everyone from building industry pros to the President of the United States is recognizing the vast potential to curb emissions and ramp up energy efficiency by greening this enormous stock of structures, to the tune of one million jobs. The market share of retrofit projects that are green is expected to rise to one third in 2015: An $18 billion opportunity. USGBC has been stressing the insurmountable benefits of focusing our greening efforts on the existing building stock, and we are thrilled that momentum is growing.

Friday, March 9, 2012

LEED 2012: Why Now?

Brendan Owens, LEED AP, P.E.
Vice President, LEED Technical Development
U.S. Green Building Council

LEED is a living document. Its evolution is critical to the transformation of the buildings industry, connecting the market to innovative ways of thinking about the design, construction and operation of green buildings. The power of LEED is its ability to transform.

We recently opened the third public comment for LEED 2012, a key step in compiling industry feedback and finalizing the next update to LEED. Many people ask us: Why have we chosen to update the rating system in 2012 when LEED 2009 was released just a few years ago? LEED is on a continuous improvement cycle that keeps us moving toward not just “less bad,” but “more good” in terms of the environmental impact of our buildings. But how do we define that? How do we know when we’ve gotten there?

Report: Build Green to Build a Better America

Jason Hartke
Vice President, National Policy
U.S. Green Building Council

Here at USGBC we often say that green building sits at the nexus of saving energy, saving people and businesses money, and creating jobs.

Yesterday our friends at Environment America put that powerful combination of green building benefits into their own words. The organization, made up of a vast federation of state-based, citizen-funded environmental advocacy groups, released a new study showing how green building is all about…well, the title of the report: Building a Better America: Saving Energy and Money with Efficiency.

Access the report. 
The report details a set of policy opportunities that could help accelerate green building - so much so it could save American families $450 every year in energy and reduce greenhouse gases by 30% from buildings.

What does that mean, though? As the report points out, that’s the equivalent of taking 320 million cars off the road.

“It’s time to build a better America by investing in efficiency,” said Courtney Abrams of Environment America during the launch of the report.

“Bold efficiency measures that slash energy use in our homes and businesses can reduce pollution and save consumers money. The best part about making energy efficiency improvements is that they pay for themselves as consumers enjoy lower energy bills and a cleaner environment year after year,” said Abrams.