With over 15,000 organizations from across the building industry, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is a non-profit organization that works to bring environmentally sound and healthy places to live and work. Their organization provides assistance with sustainable building practices, including construction, renovation and operation. Members of USBGC include building owners, engineers, architects, designers, contractors, manufacturers, other nonprofits and even government agencies. Their mission is “to transform the way buildings and communities are designed, built and operated, enabling an environmentally and socially responsible, healthy, and prosperous environment that improves the quality of life.” They are headquartered in Washington DC and support a variety of programs to encourage and increase the growth of building and renovating green.
The US Building Green Council offers four programs to homes, businesses, and schools for building and sustaining green homes, schools and offices. Among these are the international recognized rating system, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System. The LEED program is a “third-party certification program and the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings.” USBGC’s LEED program promotes, provides support and services, and certification to architects, building engineers, interior designers, lenders and even government officials to assist them in instituting and utilizing sustainable “green” buildings. Projects are in progress in 41 countries and include design, construction, and operation of homes, neighborhoods, commercial interiors, new constructions, and even schools and health care facilities. State, local and federal governments are utilizing LEED programs for public housing buildings and projects, not only new project, but also for improving existing buildings to be more self sustaining and energy efficient.
Chapter Programs of the US Green Building Council are designed to help individuals get information about building green, as well as making changes in their homes or businesses to make them more eco -friendly and sustainable. Each Chapter helps individual to connect with experts in the field, tour green buildings and share resources and information. The USGBC website provides a search function to look for chapters near you. Participation in local chapters also provides you with access to the Green Building Council online resource center for archived information as well as important information on the LEED program. Chapters may also use these online resources to promote their events and recruit new members.
The United States Green Building Council also provides Educational Programs provide courses both online and in person, to obtain LEED certification, specialized information for your industry, and professional development courses. Educational opportunities also include access to and download of “greenbytes” pod casts, articles and video on green building, for your personal and professional use. The US Green Building Council also works with K-12 and higher education educators who wish to provide green building information and experiences to their students as well as assist educators in networking efforts and grants and awards applications and information.
One of the most prestigious educational offerings from the USGBC is the award of “Excellence in Green Building Curriculum Recognition Awards & Incentive Grants.” This program recognizes innovative green building curricula from pre-K through college and provides financial support for promising new programs. There have been 12 programs to receive these awards and grants since its beginning, and there are plans to continue and increase the award and grant opportunities as well as amounts. Peter Templeton, Senior Vice President, USGBC, states, “USGBC launched this initiative to highlight the central role education plays in furthering the green building movement.” Participation in the USGBC top quality educational programs on green design, construction, and operations includes professionals from all areas of the building industry and numbers more than 54,500.
USGBC also hosts the largest green building international conference and expo entitled, “Greenbuild.” From professional to personal interest the US Green Building council provides for much needed information, references, resources and training in the area of building and renovating homes, businesses, schools, and even complete neighborhoods with energy efficient, eco-friendly and self sustaining homes. Through its use of local chapters and education programs information is dispersed to both up and coming building and design professionals as well as homeowners interested in just doing more, to save money and help the environment. Their awards, grants and design initiatives keep their members and their programs competitive and up to date with the latest in design and implementation of green building programs. Professionals to governments rely on this important information to make innovative changes in both public and private buildings, and those interested in more information or joining a local chapter should visit the website at http://www.usgbc.org/.