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Earn the energy efficiency badge with Education @USGBC

June 20, 2017
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Interested in learning more about specific green building topics and wondering how to demonstrate your knowledge in these areas? Let your professional network know you’ve invested in learning about these key topics through USGBC’s knowledge-based badges.

In the coming months, USGBC will launch our initial knowledge-based badges. These badges address high-priority topics in green building and LEED. The first of these, the energy efficiency badge, is now live. This badge will be awarded to individuals who complete a series of courses addressing topics such as minimum energy performance, commissioning and energy auditing. 

Additional badges for life cycle assessment and indoor air quality will launch later this year.

How to get started

  1. Take a series of at least four courses on Education @USGBC designated as part of a knowledge-based badge suite. At least two of those courses must be above the basic level.
  2. You’ve earned your badge for completing the series of courses related to energy efficiency. Although courses qualifying for a certain badge might change over time, once you’ve earned the badge, it does not expire.
  3. Share your badge with your network. The badge will automatically appear in your profile, distinguishing your efforts and knowledge. You can also post your badge on other social platforms, such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

Energy efficiency badge courses

Learn more about badges.

Get started on energy efficiency courses

LEED Link: LEED crosswalks

June 20, 2017
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LEED is the go-to green building rating system for architects and builders worldwide. But in the quest to make our entire environment healthier and more sustainable, there are also other, specialized ways to achieve our goals—such as Parksmart, for parking facilities, and SITES, for landscape design.

There are many places where LEED intersects with these other rating systems so that your project can achieve both. For example, you can use LEED credits to achieve Parksmart credits, and vice versa. Take a quick look at our crosswalk resources:


LEED-certified projects often include high-performance garages employing sustainable parking and transportation tools and practices. In June, GBCI released a guidance document with a detailed list of credits within LEED that can also apply toward earning Parksmart certification. Download the synergies document.


In 2016, SITES released a list of over 40 credit substitutions, so that similar credits need only be earned in one rating system, not both. Many SITES and LEED credits are almost identical. Now, it is also possible for LEED v4 projects to automatically earn all the points in the Sustainable Sites credit category in LEED when they achieve SITES v2 Gold certification or higher. Download the synergies document.

2018 International Green Construction Code

The International Green Construction Code (IgCC) is in the process of being harmonized with ASHRAE Standard 189.1 for the Design of High Performance Green Buildings. The merger of these two technical documents into one green code will begin to take shape in the next version of the IgCC, due to be published in the summer of 2018. Learn more.

Learn more about choosing LEED credits to pursue

Tour the San Francisco Public Utilities Living Machine on June 20 (USGBC Northern California)

June 16, 2017
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This article is by Marsha Sukardi, SFPUC Engineer, who will be hosting the sold-out USGBC Northern California tour of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission's Living Machine on June 20. Interested in learning more about water reuse? The GreenerBuilder Conference on July 13 features the topic "Dirty Water: Solving Onsite Water Reuse."

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) headquarters, located at 525 Golden Gate Avenue, is taking water conservation to a whole new level. Although various decentralized wastewater treatment technologies exist throughout the world, the SFPUC’s Living Machine is the first treatment system to combine these technologies and apply it to an office building within a densely urban environment.

This SFPUC demonstration system is located in San Francisco’s busy Civic Center area. The building’s planter boxes are engineered to mimic tidal wetlands, which help treat all of the building’s black and grey water, and, in turn, provide non-potable toilet flushing water for the building.

To date, the Living Machine has saved over 3.5 million gallons of potable water, reducing consumption from an average of 12 gallons per person per day in a typical office building to five gallons per person per day. The 525 Golden Gate building achieved LEED Platinum certification and is one of the few projects to meet all available LEED water credits.

The technology used and lessons learned from the Living Machine continue to set precedents for the state’s wastewater treatment and water conservation efforts. The Living Machine was the first system permitted under San Francisco Health Code Article 12C, more commonly known as the Non-potable Water Ordinance. Though it began as a voluntary program in 2012, in July 2015 the ordinance became a requirement for all new construction of 250,000 square feet or more of gross floor area. With San Francisco leading the way, decentralized wastewater treatment and reuse is on its way to becoming the new norm. Learn more about the SFPUC Living Machine.

The site tour on June 20, 2017 will include an in-depth presentation of the Living Machine system, a walk-through of the treatment train, and a Q&A session with the lead Stationary Engineer.

Sign up for the tour

USGBC Announces Songdo IBD as the First to Earn LEED for Communities Precertification

June 16, 2017
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LEED for Communities combines sustainability, social equity and human experience with technology and analytics at the community-wide level

Incheon, South Korea—(June 16, 2017)—Today, USGBC announced that Songdo International Business District (Songdo IBD), which is home to nearly 50,000 residents and 50,000 jobs, has earned precertification utilizing LEED for Communities. LEED for Cities and LEED for Communities address sustainability, quality of life, education, prosperity, equity, public health and safety. The announcement was made at the 2017 edition of the New Cities Summit in Songdo.

Read the full press release

LEED Green Associate Playbook: Test prep resources

June 15, 2017
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Tens of thousands of sustainability professionals worldwide have earned their LEED Green Associate credential as a way to take their career to the next level and demonstrate their green building expertise. From our own LEED Green Associates at USGBC headquarters, here’s what they studied to help prep for the test. 

1. LEED Green Associate Candidate Handbook

Price: Free

What it covers: This handbook includes current test policies and procedures, exam question topics, sample questions and what you can expect on test day. The handbook also is translated into Arabic, Brazilian Portuguese, Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Korean and Spanish.

Download the LEED Green Associate Candidate Handbook.

2. LEED Core Concepts Guide (third edition)

Price: $90 (discounted for USGBC members at $75)

What it covers: This is the beginner’s guide to green building principles and strategies. Chapters include an introduction to green buildings and communities; sustainable thinking and methodologies and the history of USGBC and LEED

Download the LEED Core Concepts Guide.

3. LEED BD+C Reference Guide introductory and overview sections

Price: Free (a hard copy of the full reference guide is $259 and discounted for USGBC members at $199)

What it covers: When project teams have a question about LEED requirements, they reach for the reference guide. The guide walks project teams through credit categories, minimum program requirements and rating system selection. 

Download the introductory and overview sections of the LEED BD+C Reference Guide.

4. LEED v4 Impact Category and Point Allocation Development Process

Price: Free

What it covers: This paper reviews the weighting structure and process used to develop LEED v4. It explores in-depth the goals of the LEED rating systems, taking a close look at what a LEED certified building should accomplish, such as helping reverse its contribution to global climate change. 

Download the LEED v4 Impact Category and Point Allocation Development Process paper.

5. LEED Green Associate exam: Two-week study plan

Price: Free 

What it covers: Created by USGBC, this self-guided study plan prepares you for the exam in just two weeks, outlining what material to cover each day.

In addition to the free resources included on the daily plans, it’s recommended that users purchase the Study Bundle: LEED Green Associate Exam Preparation Guide, LEED v4 edition, which includes the LEED Core Concepts Guide (the study bundle is $155 and discounted for USGBC members at $130). View the course syllabus to learn more about what to expect.

Review the Education @USGBC two-week study plan.

6. Practice tests on Education @USGBC platform

Price: Varies

What it covers: The Education @USGBC platform hosts several mock exams created by our Education Partners that will help you identify what you already know and what topics to brush up on.

Explore LEED Green Associate practice exams.

Register for the LEED Green Associate Exam today

Attend Greenbuild 2017 in Boston, China or India

June 15, 2017
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Did you know that you can attend Greenbuild this year in Boston, China or India? Greenbuild 2017, the world's largest and most influential green building conference, offers a forum in three locations for the green building community to unite, change lives, revolutionize business and address pressing issues such as energy and water use, indoor environmental quality, human health, land development and reducing CO2 emissions. 

This year’s Greenbuild will feature:

  • Inspiring keynote speakers
  • Opening ceremony and celebration
  • Master series
  • LEED workshops
  • A packed exhibit hall with groundbreaking green building products and services
  • Local green building tours
  • 80+ educational sessions for all of your credentialing maintenance needs
  • USGBC Leadership Awards
  • Signature events such as Executive and Leadership Luncheons

Boston, Massachusetts, USA
November 8–10
Boston Convention and Exhibition Center


For the first time ever, Greenbuild is also coming to China and India.

Shanghai, China
Oct. 17–18
W Shanghai—The Bund

Why is Greenbuild headed to China? China is a leader in green building. With more than 1,000 LEED-certified projects, China ranked number one in the annual “Top 10 Countries for LEED,” with 35 square meters of LEED space certified per person in 2016.

Learn more

Mumbai, India
Nov. 2–5
Bombay Exhibition Center (NESCO)

Why India? India ranks third among the Top 10 Countries for LEED green building, and in 2016, nearly 650 Indian building projects earned LEED certification. Greenbuild India is where you can learn about the latest global and regional market trends, innovative solutions, products, services and technologies.

Learn more

Don’t miss the global green building industry event of the year. To see more about Greenbuild, watch our recap video from 2016:

Pennsylvania leans on LEED to promote quality affordable housing

June 14, 2017
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USGBC believes in green buildings for all. We are pleased to see Pennsylvania join a growing list of states to include LEED certification in its selection ranking criteria, thus prioritizing funding for projects that will provide high-quality, energy-efficient and healthy housing.

The Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, which administers the Federal Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program, recently released its 2017–18 plan outlining the allocation of this key source of funding to meet the housing needs of the Commonwealth.

For the first time, the agency will award points to developments achieving LEED certification—notably, rewarding projects that achieve LEED Silver under LEED v4 BD+C and LEED v4 O+M. Additional points outlined in the plan include innovative design elements such as smart site selection, walkability and public transit-oriented design, many of which also contribute to credit toward LEED certification.

Utility bill savings from living in energy-efficient homes and apartments are a lifeline for those who rely on affordable housing. Research by Virginia Tech found that 15 apartment communities built to above-code green building standards used 40 percent less energy than housing built to existing code requirements. These communities saved the average tenant $54 per month on utility bills—a savings of over $600 per year.

By rewarding LEED certification, Pennsylvania is making clear its commitment to transforming the way affordable housing is designed, built and operated to save energy, water and money.

More resources

Registration Now Open for Greenbuild Boston 2017

June 13, 2017
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Award-winning green building conference and expo headed to Boston, November 8–10

Boston, Mass.—(June 12, 2017)—Registration is now open for the annual Greenbuild International Conference and Expo. Greenbuild is presented by USGBC and owned by Informa Exhibitions. Taking place this year at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, Greenbuild is the world's largest conference and expo dedicated to green building. An attendance of 25,000 is anticipated from across the green building sector, spanning commercial and residential professionals, architects, building owners and operators, students, advocates and educators.

Read the entire release

Greenbuild 2017: All In

June 13, 2017
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More than 20 years ago, USBGC started as a vision. Today, it is an unparalleled community of sustainability-focused and like-minded people responsible for anchoring one of the most important environmental movements of our time. In 2000, the very first LEED buildings were certified, propelling the multi-billion-dollar global green building industry and spurring explosive growth in energy-efficient, green buildings across the globe.

In 2002, USGBC held the first Greenbuild conference as a thought leadership platform to engage and support our movement’s leaders. In 2008, USGBC created GBCI, an independent certification and credentialing organization, to accelerate the mission of USGBC and the adoption of LEED.


Today, LEED is the most widely used green building rating program in the world and is on track to directly contribute $303.5 billion to the U.S. GDP by 2018. LEED is one of the single most powerful economic development tools for revitalizing and scaling sustainable buildings across the globe. In the U.S. alone, it supports nearly eight million jobs across all 50 states and contributes $554 billion to the economy annually. LEED has become a full-scale global movement, with nearly 90,000 registered and certified projects and more than 19.15 billion square feet participating in LEED across 165 countries and territories. Every day, 2.2 million square feet of building space certifies to LEED.

What’s next?

What’s next for USGBC, LEED and GBCI? One of our main focuses is preparing for the next 20+ years and sustaining LEED’s explosive growth trajectory. So, in the last few years, we have shifted our vision to prepare ourselves for the future. To further ramp up the green building movement and complement LEED, GBCI has expanded to administer several other rating systems.

We know that the built environment goes far beyond the four walls of a building, and the increased scope of USGBC and GBCI shows the ways our movement spans across industries: From land and sustainable site development, parking structures and power sources, to human health and wellness, the indoor environment and the reduction of waste and investment in sustainability as a way to increase the bottom line.

GBCI is now administering and supporting nine rating systems including LEED, WELL, PEER, SITES, Parksmart, EDGE, GRESB, Zero Waste and the Investor Confidence Project. And with these new rating systems, GBCI is consistently advancing our strategy to create new markets, build capacity and create value.

Together, USGBC and GBCI are creating unstoppable momentum in the marketplace. You can see that through LEED, and with the addition of these rating systems, we are expanding from buildings to communities to cities, and that the next era of green building is about seamless integration to ensure a sustainable future for all.

In support of this vision, GBCI also recently launched Arc, a new state-of-the-art technology and data platform designed to take LEED and GBCI’s other rating systems and the green building movement itself to the next level through the shared use of technology, feedback and performance recognition excellence.

Arc empowers people all over the world to connect and collaborate toward a collective higher quality of life by making the most informed sustainability decisions possible.


Every year, USGBC and our Greenbuild partner Informa produce the largest green building conference and expo in the world. This is where the contributions of USGBC, GBCI and our community members come together.

For 15 years, Greenbuild has been bringing forth world leaders such as Archbishop Desmond Tutu; former President Bill Clinton; former Vice President Al Gore; former Secretaries of State Colin Powell and Hillary Clinton; environmental activists such as Tom Steyer, Sheryl Crow, E.O. Wilson and Josh Bernstein; media celebrities such as Mika Brzezinski, Joe Scarborough, David Brooks, Cokie Roberts and Thomas Friedman; numerous nonprofit organizational leaders like WRI, UNEP, AIA, ASLA, IFMA, NAHB, C40, EDF, Nature Conservancy, NRDC, World Bank, IFC and IMF; and technology and manufacturing giants such as Autodesk, Adobe, Google, UTC, Intel and Kohler.

Greenbuild 2017 will continue this legacy, featuring something for everyone. We are projecting more than 25,000 attendees from 100 countries will join us for this year’s event in Boston, which will feature several hundred exhibitors of green products and service innovations on the show floor and more than 150 presentations and educational sessions by business, environmental, government and social leaders.

We are also putting together a stellar lineup of inspiring plenary and keynote speakers, master series speakers and diverse educational content. Greenbuild education includes Special Sets, which reinvent traditional breakout sessions with alternative formats and new engaging environments.

We will also hold four separate summits, including the Communities and Affordable Homes Summit, WaterBuild—The Water Summit at Greenbuild, the popular International Summit and the Builder Sustainability Forum. Greenbuild will feature an entire Master Series track, as well as sessions on LEED and the GBCI programs—GRESB, Parksmart, PEER, SITES, WELL, Zero Waste and Investor Confidence Project.

Greenbuild has become the go-to place for the green building industry to convene, and it is where the future of the green building movement is shaped. The ideas and passions of the green building community come alive each year at Greenbuild. It's where inspiration happens, business relationships are cultivated, innovation is recognized and celebrated and where people from around the globe come to reconnect and remind each other why they do what they do—and why they work hard every day to better the built environment.

This year will be a turning point for Greenbuild, and for the future of our movement. More than ever, we’re at an important crossroads where our movement must carefully consider which direction we will take. At USGBC, we are encouraged about the future because we’ve witnessed the green building movement double down its efforts to bring people in, lift communities up and demonstrate that green buildings and communities are all about people, the environment, human health and wellness. We’ve been encouraged by the continued commitment to build a sustainable future for all.

We know that at this point in time, we need to look to new leaders who are inspired by the promise of a brighter future for our children and for generations to follow. We know that these leaders are everywhere, because we’ve watched them make history together and define the work that we, as an organization, do each day. And we know that private industry and public leaders are the key to continuing to transform the market and push the sustainability movement forward.

The green building movement is a community of 13 million strong and growing. And we are ready to rise. We are in this together.

All In

The theme for this year’s Greenbuild is "All In" and encompasses the breadth of the sustainability and green building movement. The green building movement is living proof that real change starts with people—real change starts with you and me.

To carry this movement forward, we need a network of fellow changemakers who keep building—who keep building net zero office buildings and hospitals, who keep building the homes we open to one another and the schools for our children, who keep building communities that run on brilliant minds and diverse backgrounds, who keep building the community centers where we gather and the headquarters where we commit to doing better for our nation. And most important, those who keep building trust in one another and keep building bridges and bonds and breaking barriers.

In order to keep building, we must be "All In"—for the ideals of equality, opportunity, diversity and acceptance. And we must be "All In" for creating a future we all can believe in—a more sustainable future for all regardless of economic, social, cultural or political background. And we must be "All In" for fighting inequity and injustice, ending poverty and tackling climate change.

"All In" showcases the depth of the commitment we feel to our community, to our mission and to our world. We leave no stone unturned in our pursuit of what’s next—new technology, new ideas and new ways forward. We are dedicated to transforming the market and changing the way people all over the world experience buildings.

"All In" also encompasses the increased scope of USGBC and GBCI. This year’s Greenbuild in Boston will feature an even larger connection to USGBC and GBCI’s programs, which offer unparalleled opportunities to revitalize the economy through green jobs, energy efficiency and operational cost savings.

These programs provide a real chance to turn the tide of climate change; reduce greenhouse gas emissions; preserve water and natural resources; promote health, security and resiliency; and target causes of global strife, such as dependence on fossil fuels and a worsening water shortage. USGBC and GBCI take a results-oriented approach to transforming the green building—and business—marketplace.

"All In" encompasses the idea that all buildings, all communities and all cities can do better. While LEED has always been, and will continue to be the leadership standard, there is a tremendous opportunity to effect change on a global scale across the entire built environment and across both existing and new buildings, communities and cities. This year we welcome everyone to Greenbuild as green building champions—from all corners of the globe.

I am also excited to announce that this year we have expanded our Greenbuild platform to include conferences in India and China, in addition to Greenbuild Boston and Greenbuilding Brasil. These new events serve as platforms for green building knowledge and shared expertise across continents—while scaling the breadth and reach of global market transformation for the built environment.

When we come together for Greenbuild in Boston, Brazil, India and China, we represent professionals, advocates, practitioners, students, teachers, designers, builders and everything in between.

We are one community. We are what’s next, and we are "All In."

Register for Greenbuild Boston today

Five ways data is driving green performance

June 13, 2017
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When it comes to sustainability, data is ushering in a new era of green performance. Thanks to the digital age, our ability to capture data is virtually limitless, and the information we gather has the ability to drive better decisions—economically, socially and environmentally.

Over the last two decades, USGBC and GBCI have gathered vast amounts of green building data through transformative tools such as LEED. Recognizing the critical role data is playing, GBCI created Arc, a digital platform that is helping buildings, communities and cities around the world benchmark and improve green performance.

As we continue to prove that financial benefits accrue with environmental benefits, performance data will be at the center of market transformation.

Here are five ways data is driving a new era of green building performance:

  1. Transparency: Data creates a holistic picture of sustainability efforts and impact. Tracking green performance also helps businesses keep pace with industry changes. Arc gives its users a transparent look at performance using real-time data. The approach encourages incremental improvement and uncovers innovative opportunities.
  2. Comparison: Comparing performance leads to better results for everyone. Data is a powerful motivator and allows us all to learn from one another's successes and shortcomings. Projects on Arc can see how their efforts are working and how they stack up to similar projects locally, regionally and globally.
  3. Benchmarking: When you benchmark against yourself, you improve. Benchmarking against others helps you know how much you can improve. Leadership can occur anywhere, at any point. Benchmarking through Arc provides an immediate entry point, no matter where you are on your sustainability journey. It is a clear starting point and can help you move toward LEED certification.
  4. Collaborative learning: Projects pursuing multiple sustainability efforts at once—energy, water, waste, transportation and human experience—make better decisions when data is shared across teams. Arc connects actions so that buildings, communities and cities can ensure they are performing at the highest possible levels. It also integrates with Energy Star’s Portfolio Manager and other industry tools to drive even greater results.
  5. Performance beyond buildingsData allows us to see results. Results are the core of performance. In Arc, net zero performance in energy and water is shown through a perfect score. Data is also allows us to be non-linear. So we don’t have to separate buildings from communities and cities. With Arc, users can look at performance of buildings,  neighborhoods, districts, cities and more.

By connecting actions, data is redefining our built environment. The more projects harness the power of their data, the more connections are made, the more actions are taken, the more real our work and the better our quality of life.

Interested in using Arc to benchmark, track and manage the performance of your project or community? Get started by visiting, and connect with Arc on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

Get started with Arc


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