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Members in the spotlight at Greenbuild

November 3, 2017
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Members are the lifeblood of USGBC’s work to transform the worldwide green building design and construction market. Above all else, we are a council of individual and corporate members with a shared vision for a more sustainable future. Without the undying passion and drive our members bring to everything they do in sustainability, we could not hope to achieve our mission to improve the quality of life for everyone.

Although it isn’t feasible to recognize here every member presenting something game-changing at Greenbuild Boston, it is possible to highlight a few of the ways companies are going above and beyond to demonstrate that they are “All In.”


The vast majority of the 30 corporate and organizational sponsors of Greenbuild are members of USGBC. Platinum-level member companies like Saint-Gobain, Carrier/United Technologies, Kohler, Toyota, Skanska, Legrand and Lendlease step up to ensure that Greenbuild is both impressive and impactful year after year.


More than 600 exhibitors will call the Greenbuild Expo Hall home on Wed., November 8 and Thurs., November 9. By and large, the hall will be filled with USGBC members. Ask around, and you’ll hear that the Greenbuild Expo Hall has one of the best vibes of any trade show in the building industry, no doubt because of the connection so many of the exhibitors feel to the overall mission of the show.

Companies like ASSA ABLOY are finding new ways to engage Expo Hall visitors this year. Stop by booth 1214 and ask a question about ASSA ABLOY’s sustainability work to enter a drawing to win an ebike.


More than 200 education sessions will be presented at Greenbuild 2017. Subject matter experts from dozens of USGBC member companies will lead sessions on a wide range of topics. A few interesting examples include:

Every member engaged at Greenbuild plays a critical role in the success of the conference. Without the investment and commitment of the thousands of companies that comprise our membership base, delivering market transformation with the scope and scale that will make a lasting difference would be tremendously challenging.

Learn from and network with our members at Greenbuild Boston next week, as the green building community convenes to share its expertise.

Register for Greenbuild

Share your expertise at the 2018 Greenbuild Europe International Conference

November 2, 2017
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Share your knowledge at the 2018 Greenbuild International Conference and Expo in Europe. As the world’s largest green building exposition of its type, Greenbuild provides a forum for the green building community to unite, change lives, revolutionize business and address our world’s most pressing problems. In April 2018, for the first time ever, Greenbuild International Conference is coming to Europe.
Submit a session proposal or apply to be a peer reviewer for Greenbuild Europe by Mon., December 11 at 5 p.m. EST.

Greenbuild Europe

When: April 16–18Where: Berlin, Germany

Call for session proposals

This event will feature sessions covering all aspects of sustainable design, construction and operations practices for buildings and communities, including their impact on people, the environment and the economy.
Access the submittal site to submit your proposal. Once you log in, you can view the Submittal Guide, the Call for Proposals, the Call for Reviewers and the Program Policies.

Call for peer reviewers

Greenbuild is also seeking peer reviewers to evaluate education session proposals. Peer reviewers identify exceptional presenters and timely presentations. Engaging highly qualified reviewers with expertise in specified content areas defined in the Call for Education Session Proposals is essential to the success of the Greenbuild Europe education program.
Basic requirements for reviewers:

  • Expertise in subjects covered by one or more program topic areas
  • Previous experience reviewing proposals for related conferences or publications
  • Commitment to complete review of all assigned proposals (typically 20–25) by the deadline in late January

Share your expertise and apply to review the 2018 Greenbuild Europe education session proposals.
View the submittal site

Georgia Southern University and Bristol Community College empower students through sustainability education

November 2, 2017
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For this year’s Climate Leadership Awards, USGBC and Second Nature received numerous applications from colleges and universities all making valiant strides toward sustainability in their classrooms and communities.

Georgia Southern University, in Statesboro, Georgia, and Bristol Community College, in Fall River, Massachusetts, received honorable mentions as four- and two-year institutions, respectively. 

Student-driven sustainability at Georgia Southern

What sets Georgia Southern apart from other institutions are its efforts to empower students through sustainability initiatives. One such initiative is Georgia Southern’s Student Sustainability Fee Grant Program. More than $1.1 million has been allocated toward campus sustainability projects since the grant’s inception in 2014. This annual grant gives students the opportunity to lead personal sustainability projects with the guidance of faculty and staff. Past projects have ranged from LED lighting upgrades to solar-powered golf carts.

“Students are an incredible force,” says Dr. Lissa Leege, Professor of Biology and Director of the Center for Sustainability at Georgia Southern. “They bring many new ideas to the table from a wide range of experience and across disciplines. Give them support, guidance and responsibility, and they will move mountains.”

Part of the guidance Georgia Southern provides comes from the requirement that every student take an environmental studies course before graduation. The university believes that this provides students with the critical thinking and empowerment needed to make positive environmental change outside of the classroom. One example of hands-on, student-led programing is a solar energy project in which Georgia Southern students track data on solar radiation—data that is then used to influence solar initiatives in the community.

Georgia Southern University offers student sustainability projects

Georgia Southern also collaborates with the city of Statesboro to bring treated wastewater to campus to reuse as irrigation. The only university in the state to irrigate with reuse water, Georgia Southern is known for its water conservation measures. This reuse system conserves as much as 200,000 gallons in a single hot day in the summer and allows for adaptation during periods of drought.

Thousands of students at Georgia Southern also participate in environmental service learning projects, through which they’ve donated tens of thousands of hours of service to the environment in the local area. Georgia Southern believes that the combination of classroom learning and service experience will equip their students with the skills to implement sustainability strategies in the future.

This push for sustainability education not only empowers students, but helps the university save. Leege suggests that sustainability has tremendous economic value for their university.

“Investment in sustainable technologies such as LED lighting can significantly reduce energy expenses over time, but have hidden benefits such as waste reduction and risk mitigation,” says Leege. “Sustainability is also an excellent recruitment tool and adds value well beyond its initial cost.”

Sustainability degree program implemented at BCC

USGBC and Second Nature also recognized Bristol Community College (BCC) for its dedication to combating climate change on the campus level, and instilling a firm sense of stewardship among its students. Similar to Georgia Southern, BCC prioritizes education in sustainability as a tool for positive environmental change.

Recently, BCC implemented a Sustainability Studies program that allows for either a liberal arts degree or a certificate in sustainability. Joyce Brennan, Vice President of the College of Communications at BCC, says this program offers an entry into the societal challenges and opportunities offered by climate change, resource consumption and energy use.

BCC believes that an education incorporating social science-based sustainability best prepares students for the ecological realities facing society and enables them to apply sustainability knowledge at work, at home and in the community.

Learn more about how USGBC can support sustainability in higher education

Agility and evolution: How LEED is moving with the market

November 2, 2017
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Growing and changing to meet the demands of the marketplace and capitalizing on new technologies, ideas and products has always been intrinsic to the character of LEED. Continuous improvement keeps the rating system dynamic in a world that is constantly evolving.

LEED v4 has transformed the market through the leadership of project teams working in more than 3,000 projects around the world. In order to stay agile and keep LEED as the premier global green building rating system, we are prepared to again move the market forward by making changes that reflect the lessons learned in the four years since LEED v4 was first released.

At Greenbuild 2017 in Boston, we will talk about what’s next for LEED: LEED v4.1.

What LEED v4.1 is and what it isn’t

LEED v4.1 will provide new opportunities for every project type including Building Design and Construction, Operations and Maintenance, Interior Design and Construction, Neighborhood Development, Residential and Cities and Communities. This is not, however, a full version change to the LEED rating systems. Instead, it is the next evolution for the rating system, using the existing credit requirements as a foundation. We will use new strategies and technologies to provide projects with new options to meet the requirements and shift priorities to present new ways to achieve the existing credit intents.

USGBC will follow its existing governance and present LEED v4.1 for public comment, followed by a member ballot in 2018. We will also allow project teams to test the rating system while LEED v4 remains open for use, to create a streamlined experience for project teams.

LEED v4.1 is a critical step in ensuring that we continue to deliver on the vision of green buildings for all. It also means that as we work toward this goal, we are paying close attention to ensuring that these buildings perform, and that they fulfill the promise of their design.

This new version will include years of market feedback, lessons learned through project certifications and investments in new technologies. This is what innovation looks like. This is agility and evolution.

Join us in Boston to learn more at "All Buildings and Places In: Data, Performance, LEED and the Ever-evolving Built Environment" on Wed., November 8, from 4–6 p.m.

Register for Greenbuild

USGBC Indiana Northwest Branch to host open house for teachers

November 1, 2017
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USGBC Indiana's Northwest Branch is hosting a teachers’ open house on November 9, where it will share tools to help teachers incorporate sustainability into their curriculums.

When: Thurs., November 9, 2017, 4 p.m. and 6 p.m.
Where: Recycled Granite, 1952 U.S. 41, Schererville, Indiana

Registration is $10 per person and includes wine, beer and appetizers. Please come and go at your leisure anytime between 4 and 8 p.m. Brief presentations will take place at 4 p.m. and 6 p.m.

Join your fellow education professionals to learn about USGBC's Learning Lab, USGBC's online education platform for K–12 teachers and school leaders to find lessons, activities and resources that encourage student leadership, sustainability literacy and real-world action. Registered attendees will be entered into a raffle to receive a free subscription to Learning Lab.

Teachers will also receive materials for creating a Granite Pal, invented by Recycled Granite founder and executive director Julie Rizzo. Each Granite Pal is handmade, using 100 percent recycled granite, by individuals with special needs in the U.S. It is sold unassembled and comes with a lesson plan to teach recycling, geology and the creative arts.

“The U.S. Green Building Council of Northwest Indiana is pleased to help provide teachers with fun, innovative tools to help incorporate sustainable, green curriculum into their K–12 classrooms,” said Ryan Lisek, project manager for South Shore Clean Cities and board member of USGBC Indiana's Northwest Branch.

This event will provide one continuing education credit and will allow each teacher to gain a Professional Growth Plan Point. It is sponsored by Recycled Granite and Core Construction.

Space is limited, and registration is required.

Register for the open house

Learn about LEED and the product industry in the Expo Hall

November 1, 2017
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USGBC is always at the forefront of the green building industry, encouraging and rewarding the most efficient, sustainable methods and materials through LEED credits. LEED goes beyond single attributes to ensure that the we consider how the materials used in LEED-certified buildings impact human health and the environment.

The companies that develop these products are helping to transform our world into a healthier place to live. In a market where LEED-related construction spending, from 2015–2018, is expected to support 1.4 million jobs and generate $108.8 billion for the GDP, green products are also boosting the economy.

Inside the Expo Hall at Greenbuild, you'll find a wealth of innovative products and services from these companies. More than 600 exhibiting companies, from all areas of the sustainable building industry, will be showing off their latest technologies and solutions. Plus, the Expo Hall is a great way to meet other professionals in green building and do some networking.

We have several special pavilions mapped out on the floor, so that you can easily find what you're looking for, whether that's health and wellness, residential, or water solutions.

Returning for its fourth year is the unique Greenbuild Net Zero Zone, which showcases the components of a resilient building level hybrid AC/DC microgrid—part of the market forecast to grow into a $60 billion dollar industry within the next five years. USGBC has joined the call for all buildings to be net zero carbon by 2050, and the zone is a great place to network while learning more about how we can all get to zero.

Watch our video on the 2016 Greenbuild Net Zero Zone:

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World-Renowned Greenbuild International Conference To Be Held in Europe in 2018

October 31, 2017
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Sustainability leaders and professionals to convene in Berlin for Greenbuild conference dedicated to green building

Berlin, Germany—(31 October 2017)—Today, USGBC, creators of the LEED green building rating system, and GBCI, announced that Greenbuild, the world-renowned green building conference, will be held in Europe in April 2018. The event will be held at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Berlin from April 17–18, and the call for proposals is now open at

Read the full press release

California Policy Corner: Out of ashes, hope

October 31, 2017
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The recent wildfires in Northern California give us a lot to think about, as we live on the western edge of this North American continent. Disasters challenge us to think holistically about sustainability, livability, preparedness and recovery. They compel us to care for our neighbors and urge our elected leaders to act.

Governor Jerry Brown issued a state of emergency in nine California counties due to wildfire this month, and secured both additional federal aid for impacted residents and unemployment assistance benefits for workers affected by the fires. We rely on federal, state and local governments to help support homeowners and businesses through the recovery and expect measures to prevent or limit the damage these disasters can do.

USGBC is committed to a prosperous and sustainable future through our work in green buildings and communities. We stand by affected communities and offer our support for a more sustainable recovery.

New laws and what’s next

Gov. Brown had until October 15 to sign or veto bills that came to his desk from the legislature. Of the 977 bills, Brown vetoed 118, less than in previous years. All in all, green building fared well—see last month’s update for our win count (9 out of 14) and more details.

A number of topics will spring back to life in 2018 for a chance at earning Brown’s signature before he leaves office at the beginning of 2019.  Housing affordability, and whether or not that housing is sufficient, healthy and green will be high on the list. We also expect further efforts to address California’s electric grid—to boost clean energy, safety, resilience, reliability and affordability. Water efficiency and water reuse will also reemerge on the legislative agenda.

We look forward to being a part of all of these discussions and more, and doing our best to keep USGBC, our members and our community’s issues well represented in Sacramento.

To Boston and back

Greenbuild 2017 is nearly here—will you join us? Even as we compete with Massachusetts for top rank for energy efficiency policy, California projects and professionals are on prominent display throughout the Greenbuild program. See this year’s guide to advocacy and policy at Greenbuild for details.

Because of our collective work, we’ve made it very difficult to thumb through the Greenbuild program and not come across California leadership. There are dozens of California companies on the expo floor, dozens of education sessions with California content and forthcoming program announcements that will feature our California marketplace. We thrive on the common belief that true sustainability is possible here.

I hope you’ll join us at Greenbuild, get re-inspired, and come right back to continue creating tomorrow’s clean, green and resilient economy today.

Social equity pilot credits added for LEED ND and LEED O+M

October 31, 2017
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This year's Atlantic hurricane season has been an example of how changes in the environment can wreak devastating impacts on entire communities. When large areas face destructive storms or fires, the most vulnerable parts of a community suffer the most. This kind of impact happens on a less visible basis in building projects all around the world. Although development can help communities flourish, too often gentrification prices out or leaves behind longtime residents. The LEED social equity pilot credits are designed to reduce disparities by recognizing projects that extend the benefits of green building to all.

As part of the ongoing effort to embrace social equity as a critical aspect of sustainability, several new social equity pilot credits are available to project teams pursuing LEED for Neighborhood Development (LEED ND) or LEED Building Operations and Maintenance (LEED O+M).

Like the original social equity pilot credits for LEED Building Design and Construction (BD+C) projects, these pilot credits reach beyond the project team to address the ongoing operations of existing buildings and the larger community connected to buildings and neighborhoods. Developed by the LEED Social Equity Working Group, the pilot credits align with USGBC's guiding principle to foster social equity in the 2017–2019 strategic plan by building social, environmental and economic justice for those affected by or supporting LEED projects.

Dahlia Campus

Dahlia Campus, an early adopter of the LEED social equity within the community pilot credit, developed its design to integrate various needs of the community while providing for vulnerable populations in a way that brought people together. The building, rooted within its neighborhood in Denver, Colorado, enhances social equity as part of its function.

The three new pilot credits include:

  • Social Equity within the Operations and Maintenance Staff: This credit will encourage project owners to create more supportive, healthier and more equitable environments for the people who keep green buildings functioning as designed. These enhancements might include life-skills training, support for financial literacy or subsidies for personal advancement, with an option to demonstrate participation in socially responsible reporting methods, such as B Corp, or other frameworks for assessment, such as GRESB.
  • Social Equity within the Community (O+M version): The Social Equity within the Community credit for building operations requires projects to explore ways to engage and participate in the community around them. The credit is intended to be part of an ongoing process where community needs are assessed and evaluated using one of two credit pathways, a SEED network evaluation or partnering with existing community organizations. The U.S. EPA also offers the Environmental Justice Screening and Mapping Tool (EJSCREEN) for evaluating strategies to support social equity.
  • Social Equity within the Community (ND version): Much as existing LEED ND credits connect community outreach, affordable housing and economic viability, this credit will require development plans to reflect active community engagement. Projects will use the SEED evaluator tool to better understand who their community includes and identify the needs of vulnerable populations, implementing strategies to work with the community, creating insights for improvement based on the findings of the evaluation.

A demographic index of Houston, Texas, from the EJSCREEN tool reveals the distribution of low-income residents and communities of color, which aligns with many areas of the city hardest hit by Hurricane Harvey and associated flooding.

In the face of urgent disparities, LEED has gone beyond leadership to transform expectations of how the built environment can enhance our quality of life. With the ongoing integration of social equity into the rating system, LEED v4 extends our mission beyond the environment to ask, "What can a LEED project accomplish?"

Explore the pilot credit library

Boost your project savvy with LEED v4 submittal tips

October 31, 2017
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Over the past several years, GBCI reviewers have reviewed hundreds of LEED v4 projects, and that means reviewing a great deal of documentation. Based on what we've seen, we've compiled a list of tips that project teams should keep in mind while working on their LEED v4 projects.

These tips are available in two formats: in the Resources tab of each credit in the LEED credit library and as downloadable documents. As more LEED v4 projects are reviewed, these tips will be updated. Remember, the credit library is the place to go for the most updated credits requirements, guidance and resources. If you choose to download, please note the date found on the bottom of every page to ensure you have the most up-to-date version.

The tips are designed to supplement the rating system and documentation requirements outlined in the credit language and the credit forms (sample forms available here), but are not exhaustive. Projects are responsible for being familiar with, and adhering to, all published requirements in place at the time a project is registered.

We want to hear from you. Let us know in the comments section below if these tips are helpful and in what other ways we can support you.

Download the tips:


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