|The US Building Green Council: Building Clean and Green Homes, Offices, Hospitals and Schools|
By Lisa Carey
February 26, 2009
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/.