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Learn how China can lead on sustainable landscape design

September 22, 2017
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Too often, landscapes, infrastructure and buildings are designed without regard to their harmful impact on our scarce resources, essential ecological systems and quality of life. Population growth and development are causing our communities to use more resources than ever before, which means more waste. We must think beyond the building to gain the benefits of healthy ecosystems.

Growing populations, purposeful development

It is projected that by 2050, the earth’s population will exceed 9 billion people, and that 75 percent of that population will live in cities. The urbanization of China is one of the most remarkable stories of the 21st century. In 1950, 13 percent of people in China lived in cities, and by 2010, that percentage had grown to 45. By 2030, China is expected to have a population of 1.45 billion, and 60 percent of that population is expected to live in cities.

As China continues to urbanize and its population continues to scale, its development practices—whether they are green or not—will compound and impact not only how the country develops economically, but also what happens to its landscapes and its buildings environmentally.

The country’s ability to protect its massive infrastructure investments will depend on land management decisions. All of us have an obligation to be more purposeful when addressing how human health and our very lives relate to our landscapes and built environments. We must prioritize resilient development.

Prioritizing sustainable landscapes

China has an opportunity to lead as conventional thinking about land design and development is transformed into approaches that conserve and enhance the natural systems on which we depend, while also meeting the needs of our communities. Professionals such as landscape architects, civil engineers, city planners and sustainability managers can direct the future of our cities by making the right choices now.

GBCI’s SITES rating system provides an answer for the region. Learn about the SITES rating system and what it means for China at a workshop at Greenbuild China on October 16, 2017. Attendees will also learn about the SITES AP professional credential and how it can elevate their practice.

Land can be planned, designed, developed and maintained to enhance the benefits we derive from healthy ecosystems. The central message of the SITES program is that every project holds the potential to conserve, restore and create these benefits. The rating system provides guidelines for projects to meet their sustainability goals, regardless of the initial condition of the site. Whether your site has never been developed, is a contaminated brownfield or is in any condition in between, a project that receives SITES certification will meet the goals of protecting and improving natural resources, supporting economic viability and facilitating human health and well-being.

Transformation through both SITES and LEED

Unlike buildings, sustainable landscapes appreciate value over time, rather than depreciate. Plants and trees grow, soils improve, habitat develops, and in turn, people are nurtured by these environments. Just as LEED has undeniably transformed the built environment, SITES is a complementary system that encourages the widespread development of sustainable landscapes.

As with LEED, pursuing SITES certification and using the rating system helps ensure that landscape development projects meet the highest standards and helps keep everyone on a project team accountable. Yet the focus of SITES is driving sustainability beyond the building. The SITES rating system takes sustainability into our landscapes, open spaces, parks and natural resources.

Register for Greenbuild China and the SITES workshop

"All in" for communities and climate action

September 21, 2017
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USGBC has passionate volunteers who not only tell others about the green building movement, but take action to continue propelling our country forward. Just as USGBC is still committed to the Paris Agreement and the UN Sustainable Development Goals, so are our members, partners and volunteers doubling down their efforts to bring people in, lift communities up and encourage one another to keep building.

LEED, the most widely used green building rating program in the world, supports nearly 8 million jobs across all 50 U.S. states and contributes $554 billion to the economy annually. LEED and the nine other rating systems administered by GBCI are powerful tools for sustainable, resilient buildings and communities. Our ability to address impacts of climate change grow each day and give us hope for the future.

At Greenbuild Boston 2017, the Communities and Affordable Homes Summit will give you the opportunity to engage in dialogue with other green building advocates on topics of resiliency, equitable development, health and new technologies and paradigms. At the summit, participants will develop an action plan for the coming year for USGBC, its partners and its stakeholders to advance equity and economic opportunity through our eight U.S. regions. This action plan will frame and inform a series of activities and partnerships around the country to move critical ideas from concept to reality.

Below, we share stories about community leaders who took part in the science and climate marches this past spring. It is their local leadership that culminates for our global gain. We hope they inspire you to keep building and to know that we are "all In" for our future.

Lois Vitt Sale

Senior Vice President, Chief Sustainability Officer, Wight & Company

"I marched in both the science march and the climate march on successive Saturdays in Washington, D.C., because facts are not supposed to be political fodder. I teach a class at Northwestern University called Sustainability in Construction. When researching waste diversion data in early February, I came across an EPA-archived website with a banner that stated: “This content is not maintained, and may no longer apply.”  Weeks later, all the climate data was also removed...

As a leader in sustainability and a longtime member of USGBC, my career has been devoted to retooling the way we conceive of, design and construct the built environment. Reducing carbon and responding to the impacts of climate change is a cornerstone of this work and has relied for years on the facts researched and reported by the EPA and DOE...I marched to make a statement that facts are facts and [are] important to our work and the well-being of all of us."

Shannon Crooker

Project Manager, Element Environmental Solutions

"I marched because we can't deny that science confirms our actions impact the planet. I am an environmental consultant—my job is deeply rooted in science and discovering ways to restore the Earth...I wanted to set an example for my son and nurture the love for science he has developed...He recently proclaimed he wants to be a scientist when he grows up, and I hope he continues to care for the Earth with a firm understanding that our actions play a role in protecting or harming it.

I'm part of USGBC's movement to reduce human contribution to climate change because that makes me part of a group with one of the largest impacts on reducing the adverse effects of climate change. We spend most of our time in the built environment, which impacts all of the Earth's resources. It's our responsibility to develop and maintain it in a sustainable manner. Plus, I love surrounding myself with like-minded people who are making a difference. Everyone involved in our community and beyond inspires me to take action at home and in my work life."

Kyle Crider

Project manager, writer and public speaker

"I joined more than 300,000 people in Washington, D.C., and across the nation in what organizers called 'a powerful demonstration of unity for jobs, justice, and climate action.' I participated in Alabama’s only climate march, located at the Lauderdale County Courthouse in downtown Florence, organized by the Shoals Environmental Alliance and Indivisible Northwest Alabama. I participated in the Birmingham, Alabama, science march the previous weekend...

With the failure of climate leadership in D.C., states, municipalities, businesses and individuals must step up to the plate. As a LEED AP ND and member of USGBC Alabama’s Market Leadership Advisory Board, I believe it is time to move beyond education and include advocacy in our sustainability toolkit."

Jeremy Knoll

LEED AP (BD+C), SEED Design, BNIM and founder of Historic Green

"I took my two-year-old daughter and seven-year-old son to the climate march. We held signs, walked together with a big group and stood for our rights with this 'rising tide' of people. We marched because climate change is a long-term crisis facing humanity and all living species on earth. We marched to realize that our family’s daily actions—turning the water off when we brush our teeth, changing our clothes instead of the thermostat, keeping a garden, taking the bus instead of driving—are an important part of a much larger movement.

I’m part of USGBC’s movement to reduce human contribution to climate change because I am determined to make an impact through collective action. Early in my career as an architect, I felt alone in pushing for an in-house recycling program and for greater focus on utility efficiency and occupant health in our designs. Starting to volunteer with the USGBC, I quickly understood that I was one of thousands working on the same issues. I volunteered initially to empower myself, and now to empower others to take action."

Dr. Jairo H. Garcia

Director, Climate Policies and Renewables, City of Atlanta—Mayor's Office of Sustainability

"I marched to join the hundreds of thousands of people in the U.S. who are extremely concerned with the devastating consequences of carbon emissions produced by human activities. Back in 2015, I joined a small but committed group of volunteers to organize the first People’s Climate March in Atlanta, where more than 500 people participated. After the success of this march, we called our group the 1.5 Degree Patrol to highlight the importance of keeping global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius. In 2016, we organized a second march to call the attention about the importance of including climate issues in the presidential elections. This year, we facilitated the trip of more than 500 Atlantans to join the national people’s climate march in D.C...

I truly believe in [USGBC's] noble mission of transforming the design, construction and operations of buildings and communities to make them environmentally and social responsible, healthier and prosperous, and to reduce carbon emissions and its devastating consequences on climate."

Learn more about the summit.

Join the conversation at Greenbuild

Join USGBC in celebrating World Green Building Week 2017

September 21, 2017
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This Mon., September 25, kicks off World Green Building Week (WGBW), an annual event that highlights the role buildings play in the fight against climate change. USGBC is again partnering with the World Green Building Council to amplify the work being done to deliver sustainable and vibrant buildings and communities around the globe.

This year’s theme, “Our Hero is Zero,” reiterates the goal of making all buildings net zero by 2050. Together, we can change the perception that buildings are roadblocks to progress on climate change, and empower the global community to recognize the potential buildings have to reduce carbon emissions.

Follow USGBC on Twitter for the latest news throughout the week, and check out these quick tips for getting involved:

  • Join the conversation with #OurHeroIsZero and #WGBW17.
  • Donate a social post to the WGBW Thunderclap, which is set for Mon., September 25 at 9 a.m. EDT.
  • Add entries to the WGBW Action Map to show your support.

Net zero buildings are made possible by using clean, locally generated energy and making every building—family homes, offices, retail shops, theaters and arenas—more energy-efficient. Achieving this 2050 goal will take collaboration, and more than 70 green building councils and thousands of member companies around the world are participating in next week’s events.

Join the global community in making green buildings more accessible to everyone.

See more ways to get involved

IWBI Chairman and CEO Rick Fedrizzi to Deliver Keynote Address at Greenbuild China

September 21, 2017
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USGBC’s Founding Chair to Anchor World’s Largest Green Building Conference and Expo as it Comes to China for the First Time

Shanghai—(September 21, 2017)—USGBC, the creators of the LEED green building program, have announced International WELL Building Institute Chairman and CEO Rick Fedrizzi as the keynote speaker for the inaugural Greenbuild China conference. Fedrizzi, the founding chair and former CEO of USGBC, is considered one of the foremost leaders of the global green and healthy building movement. His remarks will be delivered during the Opening Plenary on Tues., October 17, 2017.

Read the full press release

Attend the Harvard Executive Education for Sustainability Leadership course

September 20, 2017
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Learn powerful new strategies for making sustainability a driver of organizational engagement and change at the Executive Education for Sustainability Leadership course. Offered through Harvard’s Center for Health and the Global Environment, the course runs November 13–17 in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

For this course, Harvard accepts both leaders who are new to sustainability and those who are already fluent. They are seeking people with an appetite for mastering a new kind of high-impact sustainability leadership that will transform their organizations into agile, innovative and profoundly change-capable enterprises. Learn more about the course content.

This year’s faculty line-up and program design includes Lars Sørensen, named two years in a row by "Harvard Business Review" as the “World’s Top-Performing CEO”; Malcolm Preston, Partner|Global Leader, Sustainability and Climate PwC; KoAnn Vikoren Skrzyniarz, Founder/CEO, Sustainable Brands; Dr. Dayna Baumeister, Co-founder of Biomimicry 3.8; and Dr. Jane Davidson, Former Minister for Environment, Sustainability and Housing, Wales.

The admissions process is selective, and there is no application fee. The deadline is September 30 and space is limited. If you have questions, send an email or phone 617.384.7276.

Apply for the course

Green Schools Catalyst Quarterly: September 2017

September 20, 2017
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Each article in the latest issue of Green Schools Catalyst Quarterly, the green schools journal published by the Green Schools National Network, illustrates a future that intertwines sustainability and education. The fall issue, just released, recognizes the outdated nature of the conventional education system and offers a platform to transform education to support youth in sustaining the world.

This issue of the journal is packed with great content, including:

  • David Sobel paves a realistic path to shift the early childhood education system from the conventional, standardized methods to immersive, nature-based learning. Sobel explores the benefits of nature-based education and the potential of integrating the outdoors into the everyday learning for future generations.
  • Jean-Claude Brizard shares his insight about the ways that the physical space and the mission of Discovery Elementary School foster resilient and environmentally conscious students. One interview features a group of third-grade students who created an educational campaign to inform their peers about the importance of recycling and its environmental impacts.
  • Reilly Loveland sheds light on the world of Zero Energy Design in the school environment. Loveland provides an in-depth explanation of how zero energy schools are not only financially beneficial but can also create healthier environments.

The Center for Green Schools at USGBC is proud to be a distribution partner for Green Schools Catalyst Quarterly. Access this exceptional content for free, and learn more about how our collective work is shaping schools.

View the latest issue

How to fund your Green Apple Day of Service project with DonorsChoose

September 20, 2017
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If you have a Green Apple Day of Service project that requires funding, consider receiving donations through DonorsChoose. If you register your Green Apple Day of Service project and link your donation page to your project, the Center for Green Schools at USGBC will match donations you raise, up to $200.

What is DonorsChoose?

DonorsChoose is a crowdfunding platform that is free for public and charter school educators to help raise funds for classroom supplies and projects. Educators raise money through the website for supplies or equipment listed in’s extensive catalog. Once the fundraising is complete, DonorsChoose will order and ship supplies directly to the school.

For more information, go to For directions on setting up an account, visit's help page.

How do I get mini-grant funding?

Receiving matching mini-grants from the Center for Green Schools for your Green Apple Day of Service Project only requires a few steps.

  1. Register your Green Apple project through Click “Log in” to make an account or log in to an existing account, and you’ll see a place to “Add a project.” Make sure your project adheres to on one of the three pillars of a green school: improving environmental impact, health and wellness or increasing environmental and sustainability literacy.
  2. Decide what materials or resources your project requires. Have an educator on your team sign up on and request those materials. When the project is approved on that site, you’ll receive a six-digit project ID.
  3. Link your page to your Green Apple registered project by copying the six-digit project ID from into your project in the field within project registration. You can make changes to your Green Apple project any point, while registering or after registration has been completed.
  4. Raise the money. Remember, if your project is registered at and your page is linked to your project, the Center for Green Schools will match what you raise from your friends and family, up to $200, while the funding lasts.

Register a Green Apple project

Learn how your university can achieve zero waste at Greenbuild Boston

September 20, 2017
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Interested in learning how to cut waste and costs at your campus? Kick-start your zero waste journey and take waste reduction at your campus to the next level by attending these two events at Greenbuild Boston.

Striving for Zero Waste at Colleges and Universities workshop
November 6, 2017 from 8 a.m.–4 p.m.
Harvard University–The Harvard Ed Portal, 224 Western Ave., Allston, Massachusetts, 02134
$30 (USGBC member early-bird pricing through October 13), $55 (nonmember early-bird pricing; $50 (USGBC member), $75 (nonmember).
Register to attend

This interactive pre-conference workshop will highlight industry best practices from different institutions across the U.S., including strategies to finance zero waste programs. Learn from leaders who develop cutting-edge zero waste policies and training at colleges, universities and beyond. Following the workshop, attendees will be treated to a walking tour of zero waste practices at Harvard University.

Zero Waste Planning for Universities and Business
Thursday, Nov. 9 from 1–2:30 p.m.
This session is available for 1 GBCI credit hour
Register to attend Greenbuild

Learn about how universities and businesses are planning for and achieving zero waste. This session will highlight some of the different approaches taken in zero waste planning, including how architects and designers design for multimaterial collection systems and space for recycling and composting containers in buildings and dining areas. Understand how you can implement GBCI’s new TRUE Zero Waste certification to evaluate your current operations and certify your facility. Discover tools that can help you get started. Attendees will have the opportunity to ask their questions at a special extended Q&A in an Applied Learning Area on the expo show floor.

Questions? Contact us.

Register for Greenbuild Boston

New master class series for LEED APs (USGBC National Capital Region)

September 19, 2017
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USGBC National Capital Region is launching a new monthly class this fall, the LEED Credits Master Class. We invite you to engage in meaningful discussions on credits specific to LEED v4 and their achievement through examples and case studies from various projects.

Members can sharpen their knowledge of the latest and greatest achievements in LEED credits taught by National Capital Region industry experts, as well as take a deep dive into applications of a variety of credits across the LEED v4 rating system for new and existing buildings, as well as commercial interiors.

LEED APs holding BD+C, O+M and ID+C credentials will have the opportunity to earn LEED-specific CEUs toward their credential maintenance requirements, and industry practitioners will have in-depth discussion on the technical applications of the credits.

Fall 2017 schedule

When: Every last Wednesday of the month, “lunch and learn” style, held 12–1:30 p.m., September through December 2017

Where: USGBC headquarters, 2101 L Street NW, Washington, DC

  1. Master Class #1, LEED O+M: September 27, approved for 1.5 LEED O+M-specific CEUs. "Greening your Cleaning Practices: Indoor Environmental Quality—Understanding LEED Requirements in Green Cleaning Policy (Products and Materials, Equipment, Custodial Effectiveness Assessment)." Register for the master class.
  2. Master Class #2, LEED BD+C: October 25, eligible to earn 1.5 LEED BD+C, ID+C-specific CEUs. “Diving into LEED v4: Foundations of Integrative Design—Integrative Process Credit.” Register for the master class.
  3. Master Class #3, LEED ID+C: November 29, eligible to earn LEED 1.5 BD+C, ID+C, WELL-specific CEUs. “Materials and Resources: A Dive into the Building Product Disclosure and Optimization Credits.” Register for the master class.
  4. Master Class #4, LEED O+M: December 13th eligible to earn LEED O+M specific CEUs “Diving into the Energy and Atmosphere Category: Ins and Outs of the Existing Buildings Analysis Credit.” Register for the master class.

All the classes will also be approved for general GBCI CEUs for other credential holders and holders of different LEED AP designations.

USGBC National Capital Region hopes to continue next year with a larger and more comprehensive 2018 Master Class series. For information about upcoming sessions, the curriculum or sponsorships, please contact Ally Dzelilovic.

Register for Master Class #1

Residential strategies in LEED v4

September 19, 2017
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At Greenbuild Boston 2017, find out how LEED v4 is working to make homes more efficient and healthy for residents.

In the U.S., homes consume nearly 25 percent of the total energy used. The majority of that energy—about 80 percent—is used in single-family homes.

Residential strategies in LEED v4

Although overall residential energy use has seen an increase in the past 25 years, it has done so at a slower rate compared to the population. This offers an opportunity for progress in future residential development by decreasing total energy usage through increased efficiency measures. This is possible on a smaller scale, via retrofits and appliance upgrades, or on a whole-building scale, by pursuing LEED certification.

LEED-certified homes are also designed, constructed and operated in such a way that emphasize buildings’ resilience. A LEED home is developed with proactive design planning for the potential impacts of catastrophic weather. LEED has several credits in place that helps to ensure the resiliency of a project based on its location, namely:

LEED v4 also addresses environmental issues that are specific to a project’s location through Regional Priority (RP) credits. RP credits encourage project teams to focus on the priorities of their local environment, whether they are naturally occurring, like potential hurricanes or flooding, or manmade. Read more about RP credits in their database.

Join us at Greenbuild 2017 in Boston to learn more about what LEED can do to support sustainable residential development:

Session: Creating Disaster-Resilient Housing in East Boston

Thurs., November 9, 3–4 p.m.

This discussion will focus on how a residential development in East Boston was “built to last” rather that just “built to code.” Attendees will hear from developers on the benefits of embracing resilient design and how doing so can help change entire communities.  

Session: Reshaping Communities with Sustainable Affordable Housing

Fri., November 10, 1:305:30 p.m.

This tour of LEED-certified affordable housing developments across Boston will show attendees how projects can create open space and healthy living spaces for residents while keeping their costs low. These LEED residential projects were developed after overcoming various social, financial, regulatory and policy hurdles.

Register for Greenbuild


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