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Be part of the action at the Communities and Affordable Homes Summit

October 20, 2017
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The past two months have been marked by a series of devastating natural disasters across North America, from earthquakes in Mexico to wildfires in the Pacific Northwest to the four major hurricanes. As communities from the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico to the Gulf Coast and beyond look to rebuild, now is the time for meaningful and immediate actions from the USGBC community to ensure resilient, healthy, equitable green buildings for all.

At Greenbuild Boston, the Communities and Affordable Homes Summit is our call to action. The summit, which takes place on Tues., November 7, convenes multi-disciplinary leaders to tackle major issues facing communities in today's world. This year, we are turning up the heat on the summit with the launch of interactive, problem-solving training and even more evocative speakers.

Attendees will work in small groups to define USGBC's equity agenda focused on resilience, health, equitable development and new technologies and paradigms. The summit is a launch pad for a series of events hosted in local communities around the country to transform our five-year performance goals for 20 percent growth in service to vulnerable and front-line communities.

Two speakers will set the stage for the day's dialogue with the opening plenary: Boston's Chief Resilience Officer, Dr. S. Atiya Martin, CEM, and John Valverde, CEO of YouthBuild USA.

Dr. S. Atiya Martin and John Valverde at the Communities and Affordable Homes Summit

Dr. S. Atiya Martin and John Valverde

Following the plenary, the Communities and Affordable Homes Summit offers two session tracks: The educational track and the “User’s Conference.” The sessions in the educational track highlight successful case studies, discuss practical tools and illuminate best practices:

The User's Conference track brings participants together to create an action plan for the coming year in each of USGBC's regional communities. Participants will work with subject matter experts and USGBC community staff on a plan focused on one of four topics:

  1. Resilience: led by Alex Wilson, Founder of BuildingGreen and President of the Resilient Design Institute.
  2. Equitable Development: led by Carlton Eley, Senior Environmental Protection Specialist at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
  3. New Technologies and Paradigms: led by Trenton Allen, Managing Director and CEO at Sustainable Capital Advisors.
  4. Health: led by Vedette Gavin, Director of Research at the Conservative Law Foundation.

Outcomes for this track include a draft work plan for each region encompassing a regional issue summary, high-level goals, an action statement, identified partners, players and stakeholders and outcome and metric definitions. Select partners will convene for a final session to identify next steps and the outcomes and metrics relevant to showing success. Barriers to collecting performance data will be identified and prioritized to make high-performance practices more accessible and effective.

Be part of the action, and join USGBC members, partners, leaders and practitioners for this opportunity to connect and solve problems together. We also thank the American Chemical Council for their generous support of this event.

Register for Greenbuild to attend the Communities and Affordable Homes Summit

USGBC Releases LEED in Motion: Transportation Report

October 19, 2017
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New report, LEED in Motion: Transportation, highlights facilities that incorporate LEED and other sustainability practices

Washington, D.C.—(Oct. 19, 2017)—Today, USGBC released its LEED in Motion: Transportation report, which focuses on industry growth in the green building sector for transportation facilities such as airport terminal buildings, train stations, bus centers, seaports, light rail stations and control towers. The report also highlights some of the most impressive LEED-certified transportation facilities throughout the world.

Read the full press release

Green building milestones in India

October 19, 2017
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USGBC and GBCI are delighted that LEED has played such a significant role in helping India’s leaders realize important benchmarks in green building. With the backing and support of visionary companies, Indian business leadership is also committing to greening every aspect of its ongoing developments—from commercial offices and industrial centers to high-rise residential communities to the retail, recreation and transportation structures that support them.

Through hard work, sound investment and dedication to the sustainability of our planet, India has realized some tremendous milestones using LEED.

Now, as we move closer to the November 2 opening of the inaugural Greenbuild India, we spotlight 10 of those breakthrough events for you:

  1. May 2014: India is named the third largest market for LEED outside the U.S.
  2. October 2014: Pathways School Gurgaon becomes first LEED Platinum K–12 Existing Buildings school in the world.
  3. December 2014: 833 million square feet of building space in India is LEED.
  4. November 2015: Vana becomes the first LEED Platinum retreat in India.
  5. April 2016: GBCI Incorporates in India.
  6. May 2016: ITC Sankya Data Center becomes India's first LEED v4 Platinum building.
  7. June 2016: Tata Housing commits to bringing 20 million square feet of LEED- and WELL-certified green homes to India.
  8. July 2016: USGBC launches LEED Lab in India.
  9. October 2016: Surat, India, rated best In LEED Smart City Challenge.
  10. February 2017: First LEED certification for transit worldwide launched and DMRC the first metro system to pursue.

Though these are just 10 of India’s many milestones, they represent important green building events for an ascendant country that is moving rapidly to address critical social and environmental challenges. If you would like to learn more about the people and projects that are helping India to sustainably meet its present and future development needs, please join us in Mumbai for Greenbuild India. From November 2 to 5, see how India's green building industry and the LEED rating system are aligning to build a more sustainable future for all.

Register for Greenbuild India

2018 Greenbuild Education Committees call for expressions of interest

October 19, 2017
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USGBC is currently seeking professionals who are passionate, inventive and knowledgeable in the design, construction and operations of sustainable buildings and communities to serve on the Greenbuild 2018 Education Events Committee, Program Working Group and Special Programs Working Group. Greenbuild 2018 will take place in Chicago from November 14–16, 2018.

Applications are due by Mon., November 20 at 5 p.m. EST.

Interested in being a part of Greenbuild? There are numerous committees and working groups that you can join:

There's never been a better time to get involved—submit your self-nomination and expand upon your professional background. All committee terms begin in January 2018. Please email us with any questions.

Apply for a Greenbuild Education Committee or Working Group

A guide to advocacy and policy at Greenbuild

October 19, 2017
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All year, the advocacy and policy staff at USGBC work hard to advance the legislation that can make a greener, more resilient world a reality. From local initiatives to federal policies to international accords, USGBC's national advocacy team and local leaders make their voices heard and get things done.

In 2017, Boston hosts Greenbuild. The state of Massachusetts leads by example, certifying more than 24 million square feet to LEED standards in 2016 alone. At the event, you can find out more about the advocacy work in Massachusetts that helped the state become number one.

It's not just Massachusetts; all around the country, USGBC communities have been achieving victories in sustainability. Here are just a few of their recent achievements around the U.S.:

Education and events at Greenbuild

The advocacy team has curated a list of sessions and events at Greenbuild: the Advocates' Guide to Greenbuild. Learn more about strategies for effective advocacy and policymaking in green building, resiliency and equity. Here is a sampling of the sessions you can attend:

  • Advocacy in Massachusetts: Why, How, What: Wed., November 8, 2–3 p.m. This panel discussion explores why advocating for sustainability and resiliency is important, how you can get involved and what past and current advocacy efforts have been like in Massachusetts.
  • WaterBuild Opening Session: Tues., Nov 7, 9–10 a.m. Learn how various communities are using resilient water management to adapting to a changing climate and how to weave together investment, policy and funding in water infrastructure.
  • Green Codes Breakfast Summit: Wed., Nov 8, 7–9 a.m. Join representatives from the organizations working to scale up green codes, hear updates on upcoming connections in LEED to the IgCC and learn about new tools that help simplify the search for green products.
  • How You Can Be an Effective Advocate: Wed., November 8, 4–6 p.m. This panel discussion focuses on real opportunities to create change, including specific positive measures that support local communities and how to build or augment existing local action groups.
  • Government Connect and Learn: Sustaining Leadership: Thurs., November 9, 11:45 a.m.–12:45 p.m. The session will feature a look at progress in federal, state and local public buildings' energy and sustainability achievements.

Download the Advocates' Guide to Greenbuild

USGBC and CSTC Collaborate to Promote LEED Data Center Certifications in China

October 18, 2017
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LEED-certified green data centers use less energy and fewer resources

Oct. 18, 2017—(Shanghai, China)—Today, during the first Greenbuild China conference being held in Shanghai, USGBC and China Software Testing Center (CSTC) signed an MOU to collaborate on promoting sustainable, energy-efficient LEED data centers in China.

“Energy efficiency in our data centers is an incredibly critical issue because of the estimated continued rapid growth of direct energy use in data centers and the resulting impact on both the power grid and industries across China and the world,” said Mahesh Ramanujam, President and CEO, USGBC and GBCI. “LEED-certified data centers provide all the benefits of green building, including reduced energy use, reduced impact of the building on the environment, resource conservation and a better indoor environmental quality.”

“CSTC has been actively following the national green development strategy,” said Fawang Liu, Executive Vice Director of CSTC. “We have published data center energy evaluation guidelines and other white papers. LEED is highly recognized and authoritative in the global data center industry. CSTC will work closely with USGBC to organize Chinese industry experts to set up a LEED Advisory Committee for data centers, to discuss the adaptability and feedback of LEED standards in China. At the same time, CSTC will also leverage our own resources and work with industry colleagues to promote the development of green data centers and contribute to energy conservation.”

“China is the ideal market for this collaboration on data centers, and CSTC is the perfect partner,” added Ramanujam.

The Chinese data center market is currently growing, with research analyst firm Technavio predicting a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 13 percent over the next four years because of an increased reliance by multinational and domestic enterprises on cloud storage and other colocation solutions.

China is currently the largest market for LEED green building outside the U.S., and it continues to be a main player in the global green building movement, with more than 1,000 LEED-certified projects in the country. The Chinese government has also deemed sustainable growth as a high priority.

LEED is a globally recognized symbol of excellence in green building. LEED certification ensures electricity cost savings, lower carbon emissions and a healthier environment.

Loyola University Chicago champions social and environmental justice [video]

October 18, 2017
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For this year’s Climate Leadership Awards, USGBC and Second Nature chose winners who contributed to the environment through extensive sustainability efforts. As the recipient in the 4-Year Institution category, Loyola University Chicago was recognized for its strides promoting sustainable culture, curriculum and campus life.

Where social justice and the environment meet

The university's approach to sustainability comes from Loyola’s founding as a Jesuit institution, where social justice, service and education are upheld as pillars for action.

“This inextricable relationship between environmental degradation and justice is widely taught and understood by the Loyola community,” says Nancy Tuchman, PhD, founding dean of Loyola’s Institute of Environmental Sustainability (IES). “Environmental issues are first and foremost problems of justice.”

Since its founding four years ago, the IES has expanded to more than 330 students, six major degree programs and two minor degrees, but sustainability isn’t just for students in the IES. In 2012, the core curriculum was modified so that all undergraduate students were required to take a course on environmental literacy. This ensures that all students must understand environmental issues and the role of human interactions in the environment.

Loyola University Chicago champions social and environmental justice

Outside of classroom learning, Loyola has reimagined its campuses with high-performing, LEED-certified buildings and energy efficiency retrofits. These renovations have decreased energy consumption, leading to a 38 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions per square foot since 2008 for the lakeside campuses, even as the population of students and staff continues to grow.

According to the Loyola mission, environmental issues and social issues are intertwined. This belief has inspired participation in several university campaigns that affect education, especially access and affordability, and those that affect social justice, such as climate change.

Sustainability strategies in their own words

Aaron Durnbaugh, Director of Sustainability at Loyola, and Nancy Tuchman expand on the university’s multidimensional sustainability efforts:

What do you consider to be the best example of campus sustainability on your campus?

Tuchman: In terms of infrastructure, Loyola University Chicago has made enormous investments to be more energy-efficient in our buildings and to conserve water. Our campus collects our stormwater in underground cisterns for reuse and slow release to Lake Michigan. Our recycling and composting rates have increased to nearly 50 percent. These infrastructure investments have facilitated a cultural shift in our students, faculty and staff toward more sustainable behavior and mindful consumption and disposal of waste/recycling.

What would you say to a peer who considers sustainability a “nice-to-have,” but not something that they can seriously implement on campus?

Durnbaugh: Our efforts save millions each year on utility costs alone and engage our student and employee community in our mission. We can also see opportunities for creating integration across academic silos, making connections between operations and academics and new opportunities for student leadership.

Can you elaborate on the university’s approach to programs that meet its commitments to social justice and climate initiatives?

Tuchman: Environmental issues are first and foremost problems of justice. Whenever and wherever water, soil and air are contaminated, or climate change drives drought, intense storm events or flooding, it is the people at the margins who are displaced. This inextricable relationship between environmental degradation and justice is widely taught and understood by the Loyola community.

Loyola University Chicago sustainability stats

  • 100,000 student hours were spent in the local community this year alone, as a result of Loyola’s commitment to experiential learning and social justice.
  • 1,384 courses taught at Loyola include sustainability learning objectives. In 2012, environmental threats to the planet were added to the core curriculum for all undergraduates.
  • More than 1,000 students, citizens and policymakers participate in Loyola’s annual Climate Change Conference each year.
  • A 38 percent reduction in carbon emissions was ahchieved through improvements on two of the university's campuses.
  • 30 projects were completed by students on climate-specific topics at this year’s Weekend of Excellence.
  • 10 LEED-certified buildings, including include the Klarchek Information Commons, Marcella Neihoff School of Nursing and The Morgan at Loyola Station, are located across four campuses, and Loyola boasts more green roofs than any other university in the Midwest.
  • In 2017, Loyola received the Climate Leadership Award from the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities and Solution Generation for its commitment to climate action in neighboring communities.
  • Loyola consistently ranks in the Sierra Club Cool Schools Top 20, and is a Gold-rated AASHE STARS university.

Learn more about LEED certification for campuses

LEED in Motion: China report released

October 17, 2017
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Today, China has assumed a tremendous leadership position in stemming the tide of climate change and protecting its citizens and precious natural resources. As mandated in President Xi’s 13th Five Year Plan, an important part of this role involves improving the efficiency and sustainability of its infrastructure. Please know that all of us who care about the future applaud those efforts. They will greatly benefit each and every one of us who call this planet home.

In support of those efforts, I’d like to call your attention to a new report, LEED in Motion: China. It’s about LEED and the many leaders across China who are working to build a sustainable country and planet. The report is in English, with a version in Chinese to be available soon.

LEED in Motion: China includes

  • Profiles of the many remarkable leaders in China who are doing the right thing for people and the planet.
  • Project profiles that showcase China’s sustainable marvels.
  • An overview of LEED’s evolution over two decades.
  • Insight as to how LEED contributes to China’s 13th Five Year Plan and how it is being used for city- and community-scale projects, mass transit systems, industrial facilities, health care facilities, residences and more.
  • Perspective on how LEED is being adapted for global, regional and local applications.
  • Ideas as to how LEED is being applied to benefit human health.
  • An introduction to a new online platform, Arc, that can be used to monitor and track building efficiency.
  • An overview of LEED’s professional credential program, which shares expertise in green building.

I hope you enjoy the report. If you would like to be featured in an upcoming version, please contact us.

LEED on!

Explore LEED in Motion: China

ACEEE releases 2017 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard

October 16, 2017
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The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) has released its 2017 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard (it previously released a city scorecard in May). It is no surprise that Massachusetts is again ranked number one. California, who shared the title with Massachusetts last year, came in at number two. Kudos are also provided to Idaho, Florida and Virginia, as the most-improved states in 2017.

ACEEE developed the scorecards to "give state-level policymakers a road map for building stronger and more resilient communities." Plus, a little friendly competition never hurts. The scorecards are a great resource, providing a benchmark of state energy policy and progress. The scorecard uses a 50-point scale across six categories, with 30 total submetrics, helping one drill down into areas where a state can benefit from improvements, as well as highlighting areas in which a state is a top performer.

Recently, ACEEE hosted a webinar to share the 2017 scorecard, and provided highlights by region:

  • The Midwest region has most variability in their rankings, with Minnesota (9), Illinois (11) and Michigan (11) at the top. Meanwhile, Kansas (48), South Dakota (49) and North Dakota (51) are at the bottom—not just in the region, but in the country, with three of the four lowest rankings.
  • The Northeast region has long showed a strong commitment to energy efficiency. It has all the states ranked in the top half of the U.S., and half of those in the top 10. This region is great at setting and achieving long-term targets. ACEEE highlighted New Hampshire (21) as a state to watch.
  • The Southeast region is led by Florida (22), which received a "Most Improved" acknowledgement, but most of the region falls in the bottom half of the rankings. Virginia (29) is also a "Most Improved" state, attributable to improvements in energy codes and the governor’s commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
  • The Central/Southwest region showed a strong performance from Colorado (15), Arizona (17) and Utah (17). A common theme from this region is that home rule states have inconsistent code enforcement, creating an opportunity for improvement. Nevada (34) did get some wins this year with new energy targets.
  • California and the Northwest region includes the high performers of California (2), Oregon (5) and Washington (7). Idaho (26) is in the middle of the rankings, but did receive a "Most Improved" acknowledgement, and the state’s utility efficiency savings continue to advance.

Next year, there will be a change in the Energy Codes category. Residential and commercial codes are scored for stringency and compliance. But with many states adopting amendments, either to strengthen or weaken their codes, it’s often difficult to make an apples-to-apples comparison. In 2018, ACEEE will implement a performance index to look beyond just the code enacted.

Weston Berg, a research analyst at ACEEE, shared some "Strategies for Improving Efficiency" that can help all states:

  • Put into place, and adequately fund, an energy efficiency resource standard or similar energy savings target. Examples: Massachusetts, Arizona, Rhode Island.
  • Adopt policies to encourage and strengthen utility programs designed for low-income customers, and work with utilities and regulators to recognize the nonenergy benefits of such programs. Examples: Illinois, Pennsylvania, Nevada, New Hampshire.
  • Adopt more stringent building energy codes, improve code compliance and enable the involvement of efficiency program administrators in code support. Examples: California, Maryland, Illinois, Texas.
  • Adopt stringent tailpipe emissions standards for cars and trucks, and set quantitative targets for reducing vehicle miles traveled. Examples: California, New York, Massachusetts, Oregon.  
  • Treat combined heat and power (CHP) as an energy-efficiency resource equivalent to other forms of energy efficiency. Examples: Massachusetts, Maryland, Rhode Island.
  • Expand state-led efforts and make them visible. Examples: New York, Connecticut, Alaska.
  • Explore and promote innovative financing mechanisms to leverage private capital and lower up-front costs of energy efficiency measures. Examples: Missouri, New York, Rhode Island, Connecticut.

No matter where your home state falls in the rankings, the ACEEE State Scorecard is a beneficial tool for identifying energy efficiency programs, policies and strategies to create a more resilient nation.

View the scorecard

GBCI Announces 2017 LEED Fellows

October 16, 2017
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LEED Fellows are best-in-class for green building design, engineering and development

Washington, D.C.—(Oct. 16, 2017)—GBCI has announced its 2017 class of LEED Fellows, an annual recognition of outstanding LEED professionals. This year’s 23 LEED Fellows exemplify a diverse array of achievements and contributions to the green building community and LEED, the world’s most widely used green building rating system.

Read the full press release


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