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LEED Link: Download the LEED v4 user guide

June 13, 2017
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LEED v4 is the newest version of LEED, more specialized and designed for a better user experience. Its credits and prerequisites raise the bar on green building, improving the fundamentals of previous versions while offering a new system that prepares all LEED projects in a portfolio to perform at a higher level.

There are plenty of ways you can get support in implementing LEED v4. For example, The LEED v4 user guide is your access point for

  • New and redesigned tools and resources.
  • Preparation for certification.
  • Minimum program requirements.
  • Rating system choices.
  • Differences between LEED 2009 and LEED v4.
  • LEED 2009/LEED v4 comparison charts.

Download the user guide

Submit your proposal for the 2017 Colorado Green Schools Summit (USGBC Colorado)

June 12, 2017
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Proposals are now being accepted for the 11th annual USGBC Colorado Green Schools Summit.

According to USGBC’s Center for Green Schools, a green school minimizes environmental impact, optimizes human health and performance and fosters a generation of environmentally literate students. Since 2007, USGBC Colorado has convened a broad group of stakeholders to achieve the same goals, highlighting the importance of improving school environments and sharing evidence that where we learn matters.

School administrators, educators, energy managers, facilities directors, planners, architects, consultants, contractors, engineers and advocates facilitate USGBC Colorado's Green Schools Summit educational programs and help attendees overcome hurdles to greening schools.

When: Fri., November 2, 2017
Where: Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities

Call for proposals

USGBC Colorado strives to provide innovative, high-quality and relevant green building education throughout the state. USGBC’s mission is to transform the way buildings and communities are designed, built and operated, enabling an environmentally and socially responsible, healthy and prosperous environment that improves the quality of life. The summit will be one important way we carry out that mission in the Colorado community.

USGBC Colorado's Green Schools Summit Planning Committee is seeking presentations that inspire attendees into action while focusing on any aspect of our mission statement as applied to the topics listed below. This year, the committee is focused on the theme "Making Green Schools Add Up."


How does "Making Green Schools Add Up" reflect the content of the summit? In addition to their positive environmental attributes, green schools support the health (physical, social, intellectual) of students, teachers and staff by providing a healthy, safe, comfortable and functional physical environment. The summit this year will focus on doing more with less. Everyone is expected to yield better results with fewer resources year after year, especially within schools.

A variety of factors have contributed to this situation, such as escalating construction costs, limited funding and the growing population of Colorado. The summit will provide a platform where industry professionals and stakeholders can share how they have overcome difficulties and achieved better results in green schools.


July 14, 2017: Request for proposals deadline (5 pm MDT)

August 4, 2017: Selected speakers notified


During the submission process, you will be asked to select which topic(s) your presentation covers. Sessions that cover one or more of these areas will be given preference:

  • Data management
  • Environmental transparency and management
  • LEED O+M for schools
  • LEED v4 for schools
  • Operations and maintenance
  • Partnerships
  • Project profiles/case studies
  • Research and innovation
  • Resiliency
  • Resource management (energy, water and waste)
  • Return on investments
  • Rural and small schools and districts
  • School funding: opportunities and challenges
  • WELL Building Standard

How to submit your proposal

You will have the opportunity to upload attachments at the end of the online submittal. Feel free to share white papers, information about past speaking engagements, references, project photos, clips of past presentations, etc. You may submit more than once, but doing so does not necessarily improve your odds of being selected. If you have questions, please contact Kathryn Lovda by email or at 303.292.6182.

Submit a proposal

Apply for a scholarship to attend Greenbuild 2017 in Boston

June 12, 2017
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Do you believe everyone deserves healthy, safe, efficient green spaces in which to live, work, learn, and play? USGBC seeks community changemakers who share our vision and have the drive to make green buildings and sustainable communities accessible to all people and populations.

Take the opportunity to convene with others who share your vision and drive at Greenbuild, the premier international conference and expo dedicated to green building. Learn how scholarship recipients benefited from participating in 2016.

USGBC seeks scholarship applicants who are dedicated to advancing our mission in low-status and vulnerable communities. Scholarships are competitive and available to individuals with a demonstrated financial or other barrier to participation. We are specifically looking for individuals seeking to advance community health and sustainability.

Three types of scholarships are available:

  • Local Scholarships: These scholarships target applicants from the Boston area and include full conference registration to Greenbuild and the Communities and Affordable Homes SummitDeadline: Fri., July 14 at 11:59 p.m. ET.
  • Regional Scholarships: These scholarships target U.S.-based applicants committed to long-term volunteer engagement with USGBC across our eight regions. Scholarship includes full conference registration to Greenbuild and the Communities and Affordable Homes Summit, roundtrip airfare and four nights of shared hotel lodging in Boston. Deadline: Fri., July 14 at 11:59 p.m. ET.
  • International Scholarships: These scholarships target applicants outside of the U.S. who are committed to long-term volunteer engagement with their nation's green building council across five global regions. Scholarship includes full conference registration to Greenbuild and the Communities and Affordable Homes Summit, roundtrip airfare and five nights of shared hotel lodging in Boston. Deadline: Fri., June 30 at 11:59 p.m. ET.

Learn more about the scholarships and eligibility requirements.

Apply for a Greenbuild scholarship

Cities share strategies for energy innovation at Better Buildings Summit

June 12, 2017
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At this year’s Better Buildings Summit, hosted by the U.S. Department of Energy from May 15–17 in Washington, D.C., public and private stakeholders seized the opportunity to share their challenges and successes in reaching greater energy performance. Among those making strides to improve their energy efficiency were our nation’s cities, and USGBC was there to celebrate their latest achievements.

Here are a few examples from cities we’re proud to count as USGBC members, cities we hope will inspire others to innovate on local energy policy:

  • With the goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050, Seattle has amassed a vehicle fleet that will help drive the city in the right direction. Andrea Pratt, Green Fleet Program Manager, shared that of its total fleet of 4,000, Seattle now has 99 battery electric vehicles and 47 plug-in hybrid vehicles. To help sustain this fleet, the city has successfully retrofitted an existing parking garage to include two floors of EV infrastructure.
  • Calling itself “The Green Port,” Long Beach, California, is home to the second busiest port in the U.S. Its Green Port Policy directs the port to incorporate sustainability in its development and operations. Richard Cameron, the port’s Managing Director of Planning and Environmental Affairs, spoke on its efforts to quantify and address greenhouse gas emissions. Its Middle Harbor is currently being redeveloped, and once completed in 2018, will reduce air pollution from port-related operations by 50 percent or more at the terminals. The terminal uses zero-emission automated guided vehicles, as well as solar panels, shore-side electrical power for ships and expanded on-dock rail for moving cargo via rail instead of trucks.
  • Travis Sheehan, Senior Infrastructure Advisor at the Boston Planning and Development Agency, discussed Boston’s efforts to adapt to the effects of climate change. The city has taken steps to strengthen its energy resilience to avoid disruptions for its residents. For Boston, a key to making progress in this area is developing public and private partnerships across different industries.

These latest actions are just a snapshot of city leadership in energy performance. These cities have a long history of efforts to address building energy efficiency, with LEED being a part of their toolbox.

Indeed, Seattle, the Port of Long Beach, and Boston each have LEED building policies in place, ensuring that at least some of their buildings meet this standard. In addition, Boston and Seattle are ranked first and third in this year’s ACEEE City Scorecard (Long Beach is not ranked, due to size).

Learn more about how cities can improve energy performance

USGBC partners with Dalian Wanda Commercial Properties in China

June 9, 2017
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Feature image: Lai Jianyan, Senior Vice President of Dalian Wanda Commercial Properties Co., Ltd., with Mahesh Ramanujam, President and CEO of USGBC and GBCI.

On June 7, USGBC entered into a strategic partnership with Dalian Wanda Commercial Properties, the world’s largest property company and one of China’s strongest advocates of sustainable building construction. This partnership will help to advance smart, sustainable, healthy and high-performing buildings, communities and cities across China, and serve as a model for public and private sector decision makers.

“The leadership of Wanda inspires us daily, and we are honored to be working together to continue to transform the marketplace by creating green buildings and communities that enhance human health, comfort and productivity, environmental protection, livability, economic opportunities and, finally, equity,” said Mahesh Ramanujam, President and CEO of USGBC and GBCI.

The new strategic partnership will focus on three key efforts:

  1. Advancing green and healthy buildings and cities through Wanda projects around the world and in the global property, real estate and construction market;
  2. Improving the performance of green and healthy buildings though the use of performance measurement tools that drive best practices and recognize leadership, including leveraging USGBC’s supported technology platforms and Wanda’s Huiyun system, a building intelligent management system developed for large-scale commercial buildings; and
  3. Outreach and education to promote sustainability.

Founded in 1988, Dalian Wanda Commercial Properties’ parent company, Wanda Group, is engaged in four key business activities: commercial properties, culture, internet technology and finance.

Dalian Wanda Commercial Properties is a leading real estate enterprise and owner of five-star hotels. By the end of 2016, it had a nationwide portfolio of 187 Wanda Plaza projects and 102 hotels, compromising 32.33 million gross square meters of space. It is also the only company in China to possess its own complete commercial real estate value chain, which spans commercial planning, hotel design and research, commercial property construction and commercial management subsidiaries.

Wanda Group is also one of China’s pioneer advocates of sustainable building construction, harboring a strong commitment to promoting green building in many of its projects. Every Wanda Plaza and Wanda five-star hotel adheres to national green building standards.

Learn more about Wanda Group's commitment to LEED

Mahesh Ramanujam speaks on Arc at Innovation Summit in Phoenix

June 9, 2017
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Mahesh Ramanujam, President and CEO of USGBC and GBCI, was the keynote presenter to elected officials, government professionals, industry experts and other stakeholders at the Summit on Government Performance and Innovation.

The summit, held in Phoenix, Arizona, focused on new policy perspectives and approaches for innovation in the public sector. It was hosted by Governing Magazine in collaboration with Living Cities.

Mayor Greg Stanton of Phoenix discussed the city’s plans to modernize its economy through innovation. Among those efforts are plans to become a zero-waste, carbon-neutral city by 2050, and to grow the city’s light rail system by three times in the next 35 years. Mayor Stanton also spoke on Phoenix’s efforts to ensure a sustainable water supply for its residents and businesses, a necessary action to deal with the current drought in the western United States.

In his keynote remarks, Ramanujam focused on Arc, USGBC’s new technology platform that enables communities and city leaders to monitor their entire building portfolios. Arc gives users the ability to benchmark and compare their performance against their local, regional and global peers in five categories: energy, water, waste, transportation and human experience.

Ramanujam praised the leadership of our nation’s cities and communities, saying that we’ve seen them “doubling down their efforts to bring people in and lift them up, and demonstrate that green buildings and communities are all about people, the environment, human health and wellness.” With Arc, cities and communities are empowered to build on their progress and perform at the “highest levels possible.”

By tracking data on building performance, carbon emissions, policies and incentives via Arc, cities are able to leverage that information to spark citizen engagement, improve policies and even effect large-scale societal change to address energy usage, pollution and more.

As Ramanujam expressed at the summit, USGBC is “always committed to bringing best-in-class platforms and solutions like Arc to help cities become more sustainable, healthier, equitable and resilient.”

Learn more about Arc

LEED credential holders make an impact as Pros, Fellows and Faculty

June 8, 2017
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Your status as an expert in green building, with a LEED credential, allows you to be a leader in sustainability in many ways. Through your projects, activities and teaching, you help make the built environment and your whole community a healthier place. As a LEED Pro Reviewer, LEED Fellow or LEED Faculty member, you can go even further.

USGBC has profiled many of our sustainability leaders over the years. These exemplary professionals show the impact that even one individual can have in making our world greener—and collectively, they make a huge difference for us all.

Learn more about each type of role, and get to know a few of the leaders in each group:

Pro Reviewers

USGBC Pro Reviewers are experts in green building and sustainability who review courses on Education @USGBC. They provide detailed feedback that helps the creators to improve their educational offerings and users to decide whether the course is a good fit for them.

LEED Fellows

LEED Fellows are LEED APs who have demonstrated exceptional achievement in key mastery elements related to technical knowledge and skill. GBCI’s most prestigious credential is awarded to professionals who have a history of leadership and have made significant contributions to green building and sustainability.

LEED Faculty

USGBC Faculty are members of a global network of instructors and facilitators with deep expertise in sustainability that cuts across sectors, cultures and geographies. Their knowledge of a broad range of themes, from rating systems to real estate, makes them highly sought-after presenters of both information and inspiration. Learn about how to apply.

Learn more about LEED credentials

USGBC takes part in roundtable on LEED and Industrial Facilities in Belgrade

June 8, 2017
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On June 15, USGBC will be participating in a LEED and Industrial Facilities Roundtable in Belgrade, Serbia. Organized by ENERGO Group, a USGBC Education Partner, the event will provide attendees with valuable information about green and sustainable development of manufacturing, logistics and IT facilities. 

In 2015, USGBC participated in a similar event with ENERGO discussing LEED for retail, and last year, USGBC was the conference partner of the 2016 Green Building Expo in Belgrade.

The European market has been a particular focus for USGBC and GBCI, the organization that certifies all LEED projects globally. In April 2017, GBCI Europe was launched to further facilitate the growth of a sustainable built environment locally and across the globe. The office is being headed by Kay Killmann, who recently announced the release of a new LEED in Motion: Europe report that provides an overview of LEED growth across the continent. 

Register for the roundtable in Belgrade.

Read USGBC’s LEED in Motion: Industrial Facilities report

USGBC Northern California community members learn about managing WELL projects

June 7, 2017
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Demystifying the WELL Building Standard

The WELL Building Standard, which builds on the success of and complements the LEED rating system, is playing an increasing role in green building design. WELL is a holistic, evidence-based system for measuring, certifying and monitoring the performance of building features that impact health and well-being. These goals are closely aligned with the USGBC Northern California community’s longtime focus on human health, dating back to its Building Health Initiative that began in 2013.

In April, USGBC Northern California hosted a panel discussion on WELL project management featuring leaders from HOK, Cushman & Wakefield and Perkins+Will and facilitated by the community's director, Brenden McEneaney. The speakers demystified the rating system for a sold-out audience, highlighting lessons learned from current and recent projects. I shared stories from the design of HOK’s WELL Gold certified TD Office in Toronto, and we all discussed ongoing projects implementing the three WELL systems: Core and Shell, New and Existing Buildings and New and Existing Interiors.

How LEED and WELL work together

LEED and WELL have many similarities, and both certifications are managed by GBCI. However, differences in the certification processes need to be considered by even the most seasoned LEED team managing a WELL project. When a project is registered, the team is assigned a WELL Assessor, who is available to answer technical questions throughout the process. After construction, the WELL Assessor visits the project for on-site performance verification. He or she tests air quality, water quality, acoustics and light, and conducts visual spot checks of other WELL features. This ensures that the building or space fully achieves the WELL criteria. It also cuts down on the amount of documentation paperwork by the team.

Going for both LEED and WELL? Teams can use the new WELL Crosswalks resources, which describe where LEED credits and WELL features overlap. In some cases, achieving a prerequisite or credit in LEED will automatically qualify a project to achieve part or all of a WELL requirement.

To identify potential problems before they happen and limit surprises during performance verification, some teams retain private testing companies to conduct pre-tests. The panelists debated the pros and cons of this strategy, which adds a slight cost to a project.

Getting down to specifics

Some teams, particularly those working toward certification for existing buildings, want to know in advance if they need to include air or water filters in the design and construction scope. Other teams wait for final decisions on additional filtration systems until they see the performance verification results.

The panelists shared perspectives on their most challenging WELL features, which ranged from air quality to human resources policies.

Several of my WELL for New and Existing Interiors projects are located in existing buildings with outdated HVAC systems. This makes it nearly impossible to use appropriate filtration or to achieve minimum required ventilation rates. IWBI offers case-by-case flexibility when building systems are out of a project’s scope. Air quality performance verification, however, is never optional, and this may be challenging in subpar buildings. I encourage clients to, when possible, lease space within a LEED for New Construction or Core and Shell building. LEED-certified buildings always meet at least some of WELL’s HVAC requirements.

Perkins+Will’s Dalton Ho discussed potential air quality challenges related to use of low-emitting materials. Though WELL VOC requirements align loosely with LEED v4, WELL addresses more product types. I was happy to see several people representing manufacturers in the audience—their interest in WELL is growing.

Alex Spilger of Cushman & Wakefield described challenges beyond design and construction. WELL also requires specific operational and human resources policies. The Activity Incentive Programs precondition, for example, mandates financial incentives for fitness activities. If an organization doesn’t already offer this—and many do not—then it may face difficult decisions about how to structure these programs and whether to extend the benefit to staff at other locations. These issues typically are far removed from the design team’s purview.

The lively discussion and questions from the audience demonstrated their thirst for knowledge about the WELL Building Standard. This event was the first in a series of USGBC Northern California “WELL-specific” education programs intended to help WELL APs with credential maintenance and to increase our community’s understanding of this new rating system.

See other upcoming community events

USGBC Iowa tours LEED-certified Kum & Go convenience store

June 7, 2017
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The USGBC Iowa community held its annual meeting on May 18, and were happy to partner with Kum & Go, a local sponsor, USGBC member and user of LEED volume certification. Derek Nelson, Sustainability Manager for the company, led a tour at one its 108 LEED-certified stores. The new prototype has a footprint that is 24 percent larger, but with an average energy use per square foot of 19 percent less than the first iteration.

As part of Kum & Go’s sustainability efforts, the company is expanding to participate in food rescue initiatives. Derek took notice of the amount of food waste at the company after climbing into dumpsters for a firsthand analysis. He found that one in five trash bags contained unsold fresh food items that could be donated instead of thrown away. Donating food instead of sending it to a landfill helps Kum & Go support hungry citizens in Iowa as well as exceed initial waste diversion goals.

The tour and meeting were attended by many members and supporters of USGBC Iowa. The group, led by Bruce Hamous, volunteer co-chair of the Iowa Market Leadership Advisory Board, celebrated the certification of 20 LEED buildings in Iowa, talked about the state of the Iowa market and discussed some local USGBC initiatives. One big initiative USGBC is supporting in Iowa is the expansion of the B3 Benchmarking program.

The benchmarking program helps identify energy savings with an “apples to apples” comparison of the current buildings’ energy use to similar energy code-compliant buildings. Measureable and visible energy performance data assists building managers and organizations in taking action to improve efficiency. The Iowa community team also met with legislators in March in support of the new Iowa Energy Plan, stronger energy code and the B3 program.

Join us for an upcoming event and get involved with USGBC Iowa


U.S. Green Building Council - Long Island Chapter
150 Motor Parkway - Suite LL80
Hauppauge, NY 11788