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Shopping mall in Guangzhou achieves LEED Platinum

April 4, 2017
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The Taikoo Hui Mall project in the Tianhe area of Guangzhou, China, recently achieved LEED Platinum status under LEED O+M: Existing Buildings. Sarah Alexander, Vice President, Certification, at GBCI, and Nellie Cheng, director of USGBC global market development, attended the ceremony.

In 2012, both office towers in TaiKoo Hui achieved LEED Gold certification under LEED 2009 BD+C. The mall project, which encompasses 1,291,830 square feet, has now certified at the Platinum level. The owner of the building, Swire Properties, focuses on the environmental performance of its development and incorporates sustainable measures throughout a building’s life cycle, from planning and design to operation and maintenance. By the end of 2016, Swire Properties had 12 LEED-certified buildings.

“At Swire Properties, we take sustainability very seriously," commented Herman Chui, General Manager of TaiKoo Hui, Guangzhou. "I am proud that TaiKoo Hui is helping lead the way by implementing innovative sustainable measures to improve our environmental performance. This recognition from LEED is testament to Swire Properties’ commitment and ongoing efforts to integrate sustainability in our operations and invest in the well-being of our staff, tenants and visitors.”

Mahesh Ramanujam, CEO and President of USGBC and GBCI, extended his congratulations to TaiKoo Hui mall: “By certifying to LEED, TaiKoo Hui mall demonstrates a strong commitment to the health, comfort and well-being of the people who visit the mall, and to the community at large. TaiKoo Hui mall has truly helped to raise the bar as to what we should expect from our built environment.”

Learn more about the project

UN Habitat report highlights global impact of LEED

April 4, 2017
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UN Habitat recently released the report Building Sustainability Assessment and Benchmarking. Given the potential for the building sector to contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, the Paris Agreement and the New Urban Agenda, UN Habitat supports scientific, accurate and meaningful buildings assessment tools, such as LEED, to influence the sector’s complex stakeholders.  

In the context of global construction, UN Habitat finds, only a very small portion of buildings have been assessed or benchmarked, and the organization calls for more research to close the gap in green building demand, especially in low-income countries. This finding echoes the call to action from USGBC and GBCI President and CEO Mahesh Ramanujam to keep building, for our community and our world. 

The new report provides an introduction to the field of sustainable construction, with an emphasis on housing, giving readers a sense of established rating systems and the legislative mechanisms and policies used to implement them around the world. A major theme of UN Habitat’s report is life cycle assessment and the need for reliable data to develop such analyses, as well as distinctions in the extent to which various rating systems incorporate life cycle assessment. The report also identifies social and equity considerations.

The LEED rating system is featured in the report as a widely used international tool, with projects certified in over 160 countries for commercial and residential construction. An overview of LEED is included, including credit categories, certification levels and minimum performance requirements. It also looks at the seven impact category goals that guided the development of LEED v4, the latest iteration of the LEED rating system. 

Here is a map of LEED’s global impact, reflecting the number of projects outside of the United States and Canada:

Graphic: Distribution of LEED projects globally.

By viewing the built environment holistically, USGBC supports UN Habitat’s goal of working toward a socially and environmentally sustainable urban future. LEED for Neighborhood Development and LEED for Cities take this approach further, to measure societal and environmental impacts in the environment beyond buildings. USGBC continues to be a leader in driving market adoption of green and efficient development, and our expanded set of tools can help create more equitable, sustainable and profitable communities.

USGBC contributed to the report.      

Read the report

LEED Link: Propose a pilot credit

April 4, 2017
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USGBC's pilot credit library facilitates the introduction of new credits to the LEED rating systems. The process allows projects to test more innovative credits that haven't been through the complete drafting and balloting process.

If you've ever wondered who can propose a pilot credit, the answer is: you can. Anyone from a USGBC member organization can propose a pilot credit, just by completing an application. (Please note that not all proposals will be approved as pilot credits.)

For example, the LEED v4 Integrative Process for Health Promotion pilot credit was one such submission. The credit is intended to support high-performance, cost-effective and health-promoting project outcomes through an early analysis of the interrelationships among building systems.

Learn more about pilot credits.

Propose a pilot credit

Act now to support PACE-enabling legislation March 31 (USGBC Montana)

March 31, 2017
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As soon as today, the Montana State Senate is expected to consider SB 330, legislation that would authorize Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing throughout the state. If enacted, the bill would allow property owners to access long-term, low-interest loans for energy improvements. Through PACE, local governments in Montana would be empowered to invest in projects that support clean energy, energy efficiency and water conservation. PACE can help property owners save on utility and heating bills, as well as work to conserve energy and water and support local jobs.

On March 30, SB 330 passed its second reading in the Senate, and on March 31 it is up for its third reading and its final Senate vote. We need your help to ensure this important legislation receives final approval by the Senate.

USGBC Montana urges you to contact your senator today to vote "yes" on SB 330. Send a messagecall your senator directly, or leave a voice message for up to five legislators at once by calling 406.444.4800.

By enabling PACE in Montana, our local governments will have more tools to create a secure energy future and create jobs for our communities.

Contact your senator now

Celebrate Earth Month with USGBC Minnesota

March 30, 2017
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At USGBC Minnesota, we like to think that every day is Earth Day, but we have some extra special opportunities planned in April to allow all of our volunteers to celebrate with us. Whether you prefer volunteering to clean and care for Minnesota’s parks and riverfront, learning about key issues or prepping USGBC Minnesota’s Green Apple Day of Service project, we have multiple options for you. We are also partnering with other Minnesota organizations on these events.

Come show your appreciation for the environment and dedication to sustainability, and celebrate Earth Day throughout the month of April:

Friday, April 7, 2:30–4:30 p.m.: Mississippi River Walk

Nature, art and history come together at Sheridan Memorial Park, and we look forward to exploring the wild banks of the beloved Mississippi River together, followed by a happy hour.

Learn more and register.

Friday, April 21, 1–4 p.m.: Mississippi River Care and Prairie Planting

Care for our Mississippi River together, and get to know people who work or live downtown. You can help plant native prairie plants, pull up invasive vetch and clean up our riverfront parks, all while learning about the area from National Park Service rangers and the Mississippi River community leaders.

Learn more and register.

Saturday, April 22, 8:30–11 a.m.:  Earth Day Volunteer Event at the Washburn Elementary Outdoor Classroom

USGBC Minnesota has been working with Washburn Elementary, as well as many volunteers and partners, to create a comprehensive outdoor classroom. This is a focal project for Green Apple Day of Service, and we will be hosting a celebration in the classroom during Minnesota’s Schoolyard Garden Planting Week in May. On Earth Day, volunteers will help us put the finishing touches on the project.

Learn more and register

Saturday, April 22, 9:30–11:30 a.m., Duluth Earth Day Lake Superior Shore Cleanup Event

This event will be "spring cleaning" from Brighton Beach to the Park Point Beach House. Ten teams of 10–15 volunteers are needed for select sections of the beach and Lakewalk.

Learn more and register.

Friday, April 28, 12 p.m.: Caring for the Lexington-Hamline Area

Care for our community together, and get to know people who work, learn or live south of University Avenue (between Hamline and Lexington Avenues). We’re teaming up with Gordon Parks High School, Community Action Partners, the City of St. Paul and the Trust for Public Land to support this volunteer experience for people nearby. Help clean up the places we share, and learn about the new park being created on Griggs Street, near Gordon Parks High School and Skyline Towers.

Learn more and register.

Visit USGBC Minnesota's events page

Project Haiti: The William Jefferson Clinton Children's Center

March 30, 2017
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We’re building the first ever LEED-certified orphanage and children’s center in Haiti.

How it started

Immediately following the devastating earthquake in Haiti in January 2010, USGBC’s former president, CEO and founding chair, Rick Fedrizzi, appealed to USGBC's members to support the immediate rescue and relief efforts of the William J. Clinton Foundation. Prior to the 2010 earthquake, UNICEF estimated that there were approximately 380,000 orphans in Haiti, with the earthquake doubling that staggering number.

Later, heeding President Clinton's call to not only restore Haiti but also to assist it in becoming a strong, secure nation, USGBC stepped up to oversee the design, construction and financing of the first LEED-certified children’s center in Haiti. Rick announced this project during the closing plenary at Greenbuild in Chicago, in 2010.

Project Haiti has been recognized as a Commitment Maker by the Clinton Global Initiative.




At Greenbuild 2010, a 35-person all-star design team gathered at the offices of LendLease to conceptualize the design of the children’s center. In the summer of 2011, the international architectural firm HOK stepped in to offer its services pro-bono to turn conceptual designs into actual architectural blueprints. Bill Valentine, then HOK chairman, and Mary Ann Lazarus, then firmwide director of sustainable design, were early champions of the project. Thomas Knittel became the project’s chief architect and remained with the project after he transitioned from HOK to McLennan Design. After a comprehensive bid analysis led by C432, Haitian-owned DeMatteis Construction Group and Miyamoto International were chosen as the general contractor and structural engineering firm for the project.



The William Jefferson Clinton Children’s Center is targeting LEED Platinum certification under LEED 2009 and LEED v4. The building is also targeting WELL certification from the International Well Building Institute. The design of the center integrates biomimicry to create a locally attuned and responsive building solution. The building references a culturally significant keystone species, the kapok tree, both in the branching diagrid supports of the balcony system and the low emissivity, heat-shedding characteristics of its second skin. Protecting the building like tree bark, a “boundary layer” shields exterior walkways and vertical surfaces from direct sunlight while allowing for daylighting and natural ventilation. The center is designed to be “net-zero” providing critical independence from the unreliable power grid in Port au Prince.



Many partners from across the green building industry stepped up to contribute the many essential systems and products that were needed for not only the children’s center building, but the administrative offices of Fondation Enfant Jesus, the Haitian NGO that will own and operate the building. USGBC is grateful to Seventh Wave, Kohler, ValleyCrest Design Group, HGA, RTM, Big Ass Solutions, DHL, Delos, Haworth, GAF, Sylvania, Freeman and the many other companies and individuals who contributed to this special project. A special thanks to Al Skodowski, former Chair of the USGBC Board, for his years of volunteer service for this project. Without Al’s leadership, this project would not have been possible.


In September 2013, USGBC announced that the project would officially be called the William Jefferson Clinton Children's Center, in recognition of the Clinton Global Initiative's longstanding work to engage and empower the global community to find innovative solutions to the world’s most pervasive problems, as well as President Clinton's efforts following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti to foster its reconstruction as a stronger nation. It is important to note that this project does not and will not receive funding from the Clinton Foundation or its related programs. The building was financed by the U.S. Green Building Council and its contributors. Fondation Enfant Jesus also does not receive funding from the Clinton Foundation.





The William Jefferson Clinton Children's Center will replace a previously successful orphanage in Port au Prince that was destroyed in the earthquake. Following construction of the orphanage and children's center, Foundation Enfant Jesus (FEJ) will operate the center. The William Jefferson Clinton Children’s Center is targeted to open in October 2017.



FEJ is a non-government, non-denominational, a-political charitable organization that operated the original orphanage. The center’s mission is to provide for the immediate health and emotional needs of orphaned children and provide a pathway to adoption. FEJ aims to break the cycle of poverty by promoting sustainable human development for impoverished children and their families through a robust full-life development program including: culturally-sensitive education, child and family advocacy, health services, community building and enhancement, support for entrepreneurship, and a comprehensive child and family protection program. All of FEJ’s services and training programs are provided to marginalized families regardless of race, ethnicity, religious beliefs, or political association. FEJ is supported by grants, government funds, and private sponsorship. USGBC holds two seats on the FEJ Board of Directors; Roger Limoges, who serves as senior vice president for organization design at USGBC, also serves as chair of the FEJ Board.





Join the effort by donating today.


Learn about wellness at Rocky Mountain Green (USGBC Colorado)

March 30, 2017
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Health and wellness in Colorado

Folks in Colorado, and more specifically Denver, are used to seeing their state rank high on the list of coolest places in the country. In 2017, U.S. News ranked Denver as the second best place to live in the U.S., and Today ranked Colorado number four for overall well-being. Colorado is one of only two states to finish in the top 10 for all eight years of the index’s rankings. The Centennial state is also considered one of the healthiest places to live: Using the fit cities index score, two cities in the state of Colorado ranked in the top 10 in 2015.

Wellness in the built environment

However, even if residents exercise daily, get outside and eat healthy, the buildings they work, live, learn and play in can still make them sick. That’s why USGBC Colorado is prioritizing health and wellness at Rocky Mountain Green on April 26, 2017 by highlighting sessions and tours that focus on the new WELL Building Standard and healthy materials.

In addition, USGBC Colorado is partnering with the Alliance for Sustainable Colorado to collaborate on the 2017 Heroes of Sustainability, an annual gala at which one individual or organization is recognized for their contribution to the sustainability movement. 

Attend a session about wellness

Health in the Built Environment: A Rating System Comparison (9:15–10:15 a.m.)
This session will dive into four different rating systems available in the market today and assess how each performs against a set of healthy building indicators. The four rating systems included in the analysis are LEED v4, WELL, Living Building Challenge and Fitwel. 

Materials World: Navigating LEED v4 Materials Credits (2–3 p.m.)
There is an overwhelming amount of materials used in buildings, and as people concerned with the impact of buildings on human and environmental health, we’d like to know as much about those materials as possible. Understanding both the requirements for the Building Disclosure and Optimization credits and the strategies behind them will open the door to the world of material health and the standards, screening tools, product certifications and product libraries.

Designing for WELL (3:30–4:30 p.m.)
The WELL Building Standard is raising the bar in the built environment and is rapidly gaining momentum worldwide. WELL addresses design issues in several ways that challenge current industry standards to create spaces verified to improve human health during occupancy. Attendees will hear from both an interior design practitioner currently designing for Commercial Interiors and Core and Shell typologies, as well as from a WELL Assessor.

Join us in the WELLness Lounge

In the expo hall, Rocky Mountain Green will feature healthy products for your home and office. Learn about furniture that is made with the right materials and is delivered with an Environmental Product Declaration. Experience an office setting through virtual reality with View Dynamic intelligent windows. Win a prize that will help you with your health goals by participating in our passport to prizes. Enjoy the WELLness break from 3–3:30 p.m., featuring healthy foods, drinks and information about increasing health in the built environment and in your daily life.

Hear from Rick Fedrizzi at Heroes for Sustainability

Each year, Alliance for Sustainable Colorado recognizes individuals or organizations making far-reaching impacts in sustainability at the Heroes of Sustainability Award dinner gala. The event brings together more than 500 of Colorado's corporate, nonprofit, academic and political leaders to honor extraordinary accomplishments that advance sustainability in environmental, economic and social arenas. This year, Alliance for Sustainable Colorado will honor Rick Fedrizzi.

In November 2016, global environmental business leader Rick Fedrizzi became chairman and CEO of the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI), a public benefit corporation advancing buildings that put human health and wellness at the center of their design and operation. IWBI administers the WELL Building Standard, an evidence-based system for measuring, certifying and monitoring the performance of building features that impact health and well-being. Fedrizzi is also founding chair of USGBC and former CEO of both USGBC and GBCI. During his tenure, LEED became the world’s most widely used green building rating system.

Rocky Mountain Green and Heroes for Sustainability will happen on the same day, in the same location, so when you purchase tickets to one event, you’ll receive a coupon code for a discounted rate to the other. We look forward to seeing you there on April 26.

Register for Rocky Mountain Green

Winners of the 2017 Arizona Leader Awards announced (USGBC Arizona)

March 30, 2017
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USGBC Arizona is committed to transforming the way buildings are designed, constructed and operated in the state. Local leadership achieves this through support for the continued growth of LEED certification and related green building rating systems and tools. Achievement of LEED certification demonstrates a commitment to greater energy, water and waste savings and improves the health and well-being of building occupants and the surrounding environment

Every year, the USGBC Arizona community comes together to celebrate the leadership of Arizona building owners, designers and construction professionals who achieve LEED certification at the Heavy Medals Awards Luncheon. This year’s luncheon is scheduled for April 19 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Salt River Project’s PERA Club in Tempe. The luncheon is generously supported by the Salt River Project and other partners.

The community is privileged to host Mark Hartman, chief sustainability officer for the city of Phoenix, as the keynote speaker at the luncheon. After Mark’s presentation, the community will honor the winners of the 2017 Arizona Leader Awards, recognizing buildings in the state that raised the bar for sustainable design in the past year.

2017 Arizona Leader Award winners

Innovative Design, New Construction: Northern Arizona University Student and Academic Services Building. For a LEED-certified Building Design and Construction project that demonstrates the use of new technologies and strategies to push the envelope of green design and meet project challenges in an innovative way.

Climate Champion: Northern Arizona University International Pavilion. For a LEED-certified project that demonstrates unique design solutions to address the particular concerns of building in the Arizona climate.

Community Champion: ASU Sun Devil Fitness Complex, Downtown Phoenix Campus. For a LEED-certified project that addresses the needs of an underserved community, meeting USGBC's vision of healthy and sustainable buildings for all.

Building Performance: University of Arizona Old Main Renovation. For a LEED-certified existing building project that demonstrates a significant increase in building performance through the implementation of sustainable design solutions.

Green Schools: Phoenix Coding Academy. For a K–12 school that demonstrates sustainable leadership in facility operations and student/community engagement.

Judge’s Choice Award: Habitat for Humanity Central Arizona. For their commitment to LEED certification and bringing healthier, more energy efficient homes to all.

Join us in celebrating the growth of LEED in the state. Currently, there are more than 550 LEED commercial projects in Arizona, totaling 60,809,310 square feet. LEED construction projects in the state of Arizona will contribute 78,000 jobs, $4.56 billion in labor earnings and $6.8 billion to the GDP between 2015 and 2018.

Attend the awards luncheon

Arc + Schools

March 30, 2017
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The Center for Green Schools at USGBC is launching a new program called Arc + Schools and is seeking interested school districts, with and without LEED projects, to start using the new Arc platform to track performance of their buildings, benchmark with their peers and share feedback with USGBC along the way.

Arc is a new technology platform designed to connect sustainability actions and facilitate transformation in the built environment. All the building data available in the market (for both LEED and non-LEED projects) is organized in one location, providing an immediate entry point for users all over the world to connect, share information and inspire one another to create high-performing green spaces.

The goal of the Arc + Schools program is to understand how the Arc technology platform can best support school district sustainability efforts across all three pillars: building performance, health and wellness and sustainability literacy. Throughout the yearlong program, participants will engage with the Arc platform by inputting energy, water, waste, transportation and other sustainability data, using the analytics and reporting features and testing new measures and platform tools that are specific to schools. USGBC will incorporate user feedback to refine Arc + Schools, with the ultimate goal of launching it more widely in the second quarter of 2018.

Participant requirements

District participants must be prepared to actively engage with USGBC throughout the duration of the year, including

  • Meeting established data requirements for entry of established school-level energy, water, waste, transportation, human experience, health and learning measures.
  • Forming and coordinating with a district working group across multiple departments, including facilities, transportation, food services, health and wellness and curriculum.
  • Developing an individualized work plan that includes deadlines for meeting required program targets.
  • Having regular communications with the USGBC team, as well as feedback on platform features and functionality.


To ensure USGBC is able to provide a deep level of support to each participant, a limited number of spots are available. Interested districts should first review the program requirements and then express their interest in participating by completing the short Arc + Schools program interest form.

If you have questions, please contact Phoebe Beierle.

Fill out the interest form

At Women in Green event, leaders in green building unite for change (USGBC Minnesota)

March 29, 2017
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On International Women’s Day (March 8), USGBC Minnesota gathered women active in green building to celebrate our collective power and inspire our future at the Women in Green Power Breakfast. Together, we reflected on what it means to be a community, how we create healthful and green spaces to come together and how we help one another be bold to create change.

The event featured framing remarks by Amy Skoczlas Cole, whose vision helped to create the event; a panel discussion featuring Eliza Clark of Andersen Corporation, Commissioner Shawntera Hardy of DEED, Jamie Johnson of the Center for Energy and Environment, Bonnie Keeler of the Institute on Environment and Joan Serrano of HGA. Attendees also participated in small-group discussions on the themes of equity, challenging ourselves to make connections with those outside of our immediate circles, speaking up, collaborating and empowering one another.

The conversation was made only more wonderful by the delicious food and beautiful surroundings of Esker Grove. We left ready to take on new challenges and planning to come together in the future to reaffirm our strength, our drive and our collective mission.

A few of the quotes during the program that inspired us to keep pushing forward as changemakers and to lead by example:

  • “There is no silver bullet. There’s only silver buckshot. So be a part of the bold glittery buckshot.” —Bonnie Keeler 
  • “We have to figure out how the conversation begins and ends with sustaining into the future. We are working for the seventh generation.” —Commissioner Shawntera Hardy
  • “Integration of nature and architecture is key.” —Joan Serrano
  •  “Move beyond the status quo and think forward.” —Jamie Johnson
  • “The intersection between the environment and health and wellness is really powerful.” —Eliza Clark

At the end of the program, Commissioner Hardy recounted an African proverb, “If you’ve ever tried to sleep in a tent with a mosquito, you know how something so small can disrupt your world,” reminding us to “be the mosquito” and challenging us all to “disrupt, make change, and be unapologetic about investing in our spaces and experiences.”

Thank you to our Women in Green sponsors, Wells Fargo, Valspar and MSR. 

View our photos of the event


U.S. Green Building Council - Long Island Chapter
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