USGBC Elects New Members and Officers to its 2021 Board of Directors

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) announced newly elected members to its 2021 board of directors. The members bring leadership and expertise in such areas as community development, the connection between human and environmental health, equity and sustainable real estate development. The members were selected to help further align activities with USGBC’s new vision, healthy people in healthy places equals a healthy economy. The board also announced its 2021 officers.

“USGBC’s board of directors brings diverse leadership, experience and insights to advance our mission of green buildings for all,” said Mahesh Ramanujam, president and CEO, USGBC. “The intersecting environmental, social and economic challenges our communities and businesses are facing requires us to leverage the full power of the green building community to shape a healthier, more sustainable world. We welcome our newly elected members and are grateful to the entire board for their continued guidance of our strategic plan.”  

Elected members include Dr. Aaron Bernstein, Interim Director for Center for Climate, Health and the Global Environment at Harvard T.H. School of Public Health (Harvard C-CHANGE). His work at Harvard C-CHANGE examines the human health effects of global environmental changes with the aim of promoting a deeper understanding of these subjects among students, educators, policymakers and the public. He is also a pediatrician at Boston Children’s Hospital. Dr. Bernstein was re-elected to a two-year term.

Anyeley Hallová is the founder of Adre and brings 17 years of experience from mixed-use developments to office headquarters. She founded Adre, a real estate development firm focused on real estate projects that seek to create wealth for the Black community and underrepresented groups that traditionally lack access to real estate ownership and investment. Her civic work includes a governor appointment to Oregon’s Land Conservation and Development Commission, where she serves as vice-chair and a mayoral appointment to Portland’s Adjustment Committee, Community Involvement Committee for the Portland Plan and Policy Expert Group for Residential Development and Compatibility for the Comp Plan. Ms. Hallová was elected to a two-year term.

Dr. Ruth Thomas-Squance is the director of Field Building at the Build Healthy Places Network where she directs the organization’s national Field Building Strategy, positioning cross-sector partnerships from community development, public health and healthcare sectors to lead and leverage community-centered investments across the country to address social determinants of health and advance racial equity. She brings 15 years of experience working in multi-sector collaborations with diverse partners. Dr. Thomas-Squance’s passion for contributing to the promotion of health and social equity has taken her from a successful career in biomedical research to management in the non-profit and public sectors.

Lakisha Ann Woods is the president and CEO at the National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) where she leads the organization in advancing building science and technology. Prior to NIBS, Woods was the senior vice president and chief marketing officer at the National Association of Home Builders where she oversaw all marketing, revenue-generating programs and national partnerships. Woods currently serves on the American Society of Association Executives board of directors and Advisory Board of Crosswalk. She was re-elected to a three-year term.

Dr. Marwa Zaatari is a partner at Dzine Partners and co-chair of enVerid Systems Advisory Board. She leads research and development of “Air as a Service” around heat exchanger coils, ventilation, filtration and IAQ measurements. Her work continues to advance building science methods in assessing performance-based procedures to design and operate buildings to optimize energy and people efficiency. Dr. Zaatari has extensive experience in identifying and quantifying the sources, fate and transport of indoor air pollutants, as well as assessing performance related to energy efficiency, exposure and economic impacts of indoor pollution. Dr. Zaatari was elected to a three-year term.

These elected board members will join USGBC’s CEO and two additional members: Daniel McQuade, managing director at Global Infrastructure Solutions and Karen Weigert, executive vice president of business strategy, finance and regional operations at Slipstream.

The board elected Dr. Aaron Bernstein as chair; Lakisha Ann Woods as vice chair; and Karen Weigert as secretary-treasurer.  

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U.S. Green Building Council Announces the 2020 Leadership Award Recipients

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) announced 10 inspiring individuals, companies, organizations and projects have been named 2020 Leadership Award recipients. The honorees are at the forefront of green building and working to advance healthy, resilient and equitable buildings and communities. USGBC will be honoring this year’s recipients on Thursday, November 12 at 5 p.m. EST during the closing event at the Greenbuild Virtual conference.

“Our 2020 Leadership Award recipients understand that by investing in healthy, green buildings and communities we are not only improving quality of life for people, but we are also taking  steps to strengthen our businesses and economy,” said Mahesh Ramanujam, president and CEO, USGBC and Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI). “These recipients are an inspiration and celebrating their achievements is a bright spot during a year that has challenged us all. Their work reminds us to be hopeful and stay the course, because a commitment to green building will be a key part of rebuilding a better world.”

The recipients represent public and private sector leaders who have shown a commitment to LEED, as well as improving Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) performance, enhancing citywide sustainability and resilience, and introducing innovative waste management solutions. This year’s honorees include:

Inspiring Individuals Leading the Way

Chris Castro, director of sustainability and resilience, City of Orlando started as a USGBC student at the University of Central Florida, then became an Emerging Professional, and today is a recognized advocate for sustainability nationally. His consistent leadership helped Orlando become a LEED Gold city. His priorities include decreasing the city’s carbon emissions by expanding building energy efficiency, renewable energy, and electric vehicles; implementing green building policies; championing infrastructure projects that prioritize pedestrians and bicyclists; advancing zero-waste programs for recycling and food waste diversion; and increasing opportunities for urban farming by partnering with local public and private organizations to increase community gardens and local food access. He is also co-founder of several non-profit and B-corp companies, including IDEAS For Us, Fleet Farming, and Climate First Bank.

Geoff Morgan, president and CEO, First Community Housing (FCH) oversees all operations for the nonprofit, which is dedicated to developing affordable housing in San Jose and the greater Bay Area. Morgan holds a LEED AP Homes credential and has over 20 years of experience in financing, development, construction and operations of affordable housing projects, subdivisions, commercial real estate, historic renovations and military base reuse. His work with FCH, a USGBC member for 18 years, includes providing over 3,000 residents with high quality, sustainable, service enriched affordable housing. He leads a LEED Platinum and LEED Gold neighborhood and community development that support low-income individuals and those with special needs. Today, under his leadership the standard for FCH projects is LEED Platinum.

Kim Shinn, principal and senior sustainability wizard, TLC Engineering Solutions has been actively involved in the design or commissioning of over 200 LEED certified projects. His work has included higher education, justice, healthcare and laboratory spaces, as well as pilot projects for LEED for commercial interiors, core and shell, and neighborhood development. Shinn holds a LEED AP and is part of the inaugural class of 2011 LEED Fellows. He was an integral part of creating LEED for Healthcare and Green Guide for Health Care and currently serves on Nashville Mayor’s Sustainability Advisory Committee.

Kenya Stump, executive director, Kentucky Office of Energy Policy played an integral role in helping Kentucky become the first state to leverage the U.S. Department of Energy’s State Energy Program funding to implement PEER. Her efforts led to certification for three facilities including Fort Knox, Electric Plant Board in the City of Glasgow and Nolin Rural Electric Cooperative Corporation. Stump has remained an advocate for bringing reliable, resilient power to America’s power sector and has been integral in helping to replicate her success with PEER across other State Energy Offices.

Gail Vittori, co-director, Center for Maximum Potential Building Systems is the recipient of this year’s Kate Hurst Leadership Award. Introduced last year in memory of USGBC’s senior vice president of conference and events, the award recognizes an inspiring woman who embodies the spirit, strength and sentiment Kate brought to her own work. Vittori is a LEED Fellow and former USGBC and GBCI chair whose own work is focused on the intersection of sustainable design, green building and human health. She’s worked on public and private projects around the world, including Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas, the first LEED Platinum certified hospital in the world.

Outstanding Companies, Organizations & Projects

Autodesk is a long-standing member of USGBC and believes sustainability is about creating tools that enable customers to optimize the use of energy and materials, design for health and resilience, and learn new skills to adapt and prosper through change. The company powers its buildings, data centers and cloud services with 100% renewable energy and has reduced its GHG emissions by 43% since 2009. Starting in FY21 they are committed to achieving net zero carbon emissions across their entire footprint, including supply chain. They have achieved 15 LEED certifications and are supporting other projects around the world in their journey to certification using their Building Information Modeling (BIM) software. Through the Autodesk Foundation, the company is also providing funding, software and training to entrepreneurs and innovators designing and creating solutions to the world’s most pressing social and environmental challenges, leading industries to more sustainable outcomes.

Chumash Casino Resort is the sixth largest Native American gaming operation in California. Managing its waste is a critical function for the resort, Tribal Ownership and the community. Its innovative approach to diverting waste earned it TRUE Silver certification. From 2004 to 2018, the resort reduced its total waste stream from 7.2 million pounds per year to 3.2 million. During the same period, it also increased recycling from 6% to 90%, established a food donation program to support local seniors, and developed a public education campaign highlighting best practices for the community. Employee education was critical to its success and led to the resort creating the Native American Sustainability Facility Association.

TCF Center is a 2.4 million square foot convention center in downtown Detroit that achieved LEED Gold in October 2019 under LEED v4.1 O+M. It is one of only a few convention centers in the world to certify under that rating system. TCF is a high-performing green building and the team is dedicated to ongoing performance measurement through Arc. It invests in educating employees, vendors, customers, partners and visitors on its efforts and the importance of sustainable practices. The center is also a steward of human health and in response to this year’s pandemic, was designated an alternate care site where it was prepared to provide medical care space for the overflow of local Detroit hospitals.

Vanderbilt University is home to 21 LEED-certified buildings, WELL and PETAL projects and incorporates sustainability into their construction and renovation projects. The university has fully committed to carbon neutrality by 2050 and incorporates renewable energy power on campus. Vanderbilt’s sustainability goals were created through a collaborative effort between administrators, faculty, staff and students. The university is comprised of over 340 acres of real estate and as one of the largest employers in the region, is responsible for more than 10,000 commuters daily. Vanderbilt leadership views constructing green buildings and a park-like setting on campus as a necessary strategy to ensure environmental responsibility, as well as ensuring efficient spaces for future Commodores.

Vornado Realty Trust achieved the GRESB Green Star Ranking in 2019 for the seventh year in a row, scoring in the top 6% of over 950 companies worldwide. They are one of the largest owners of LEED-certified properties in the U.S. with more than 27 million square feet of LEED certified space, which represents over 95% of its office portfolio, and the majority of which is at Gold or Platinum level certification. The company is focused on the next frontier of sustainable real estate and is concentrating on technology, resilience and health as part of that journey. It uses green cleaning services in all of its owned and managed properties and is working toward a goal of reaching a landfill diversion by 75% for all new properties and at least 50% for all tenant improvements.

The Leadership Awards represent some of the best of USGBC’s member organizations, network of committed professionals and community of local leaders across the U.S. and around the world.

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New LEED Guidance from USGBC Helps Expand Resilience Efforts in Response to COVID-19

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has released two new Safety First pilot credits as part of the LEED for Cities and Communities rating system. The new credits are designed to help local governments and development authorities better prepare for and respond to future pandemic events. The guidance includes strategies for planning, risk assessment and training, as well as evaluating equity implications and impacts to vulnerable communities. Between the increasing risks associated with climate change and the current public health crisis, the new LEED credits provide additional ways to integrate public health and social equity into sustainability and resilience efforts.

The Safety First pilot credits are part of USGBC’s economic recovery strategy introduced in May that centers around a reimagined vision that healthy people in healthy places equals a healthy economy. The new LEED credits, called Safety First: Pandemic Planning and Safety First: Social Equity in Pandemic Planning, are available to LEED for Cities and Communities projects.

“The key to a better future lies in our ability to create places that support human and environmental health,” said Mahesh Ramanujam, president and CEO of USGBC. “LEED-certified cities and communities are already moving in that direction and they understand that effective planning is critical to tracking performance and making improvements. The current pandemic is revealing new lessons every day and LEED’s Safety First pilot credits provide a roadmap for taking action and bringing a more integrated and inclusive approach to rebuilding a healthier economy.”

The Safety First: Pandemic Planning credit is intended to help cities and communities prepare for, control and mitigate the spread of disease during a pandemic that poses a high risk to people. The plan must include a task force representing diverse backgrounds that is responsible for evaluating possible impacts and advising decision makers on short- and long-term challenges. It must also identify risks and vulnerabilities to health by outlining historical, geographical, epidemiological and other factors, and assess preparedness. The plan evaluates healthcare system readiness, domestic response, incident management and other existing policies and procedures. Education and training for community partners and other stakeholders must also be included.

The Safety First: Social Equity in Pandemic Planning credit systematically considers equity implications across all phases of the pandemic preparedness, planning and response process. The local government or development authority must have a local equity officer in place and responsible for building equity into the structure of the emergency command and response system. The plan must also convene a Pandemic Community Advisory Group to gather input on an on-going basis and the group must reflect the demographic and socio-economic diversity of the city or community. Public communications, outreach and educational campaigns must also be included in order to share relevant information about the pandemic, public health and health care facilities available. Project teams are also encouraged to demonstrate how policy, procedures, infrastructure and facilities impact low income, vulnerable or at-risk groups.

In the U.S., the coronavirus is expected to reduce GDP by nearly $8 trillion through 2030 putting tremendous strain on local economies, businesses and people. Those losses will be even more acute when coupled with mounting costs associated with climate events. Last year, just 14 weather and climate disasters cost the U.S. more than $45 billion. LEED has long supported resilience planning and the new Safety First pilot credits expand those efforts to ensure local governments and development authorities are also planning for and considering public health threats and social equity challenges. As projects pursue the new credits, USGBC will collect feedback and refine the guidance.

These and other new LEED credits will be discussed during USGBC’s Healthy Economy Forum August 4-5. The forum will address a wide range of building sectors and examine how green building plays a role in ensuring people feel safe and healthy returning to buildings and spaces. The presentations and discussions will identify changes that may be needed in the short term and those that may be permanent while helping to rebuild the economy and replace unprecedented job losses. Registration for the virtual forum is currently open.

For more than 20 years, USGBC has defined global best practices for designing, constructing and operating sustainable, resilient and healthy buildings, cities and communities through LEED. LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is the world’s most widely used green building rating system and promotes strategies that reduce environmental harm, enhance human health and support economic development. Third party verification systems like LEED encourage transparency and confirm that a project has met the highest sustainability standards. Nearly 200 cities and communities, and over 103,000 buildings and spaces are currently participating across nearly 180 countries and territories.

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Christiana Figueres to Keynote the 2020 Greenbuild International Conference and Expo

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and Informa Connect are proud to announce that Christiana Figueres, former executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will headline the 2020 Greenbuild International Conference and Expo. Figueres will deliver the keynote address during the opening session on Tuesday, November 10. This year’s virtual Greenbuild experience will take place November 10-12 with three virtual summits focused on green business, resilience and global health and wellness, taking place September 10, October 1 and October 22 as a lead up to the main event. Registration is now open.

“Greenbuild is honored and excited that Ms. Figueres has accepted our invitation to speak at Greenbuild 2020,” said Sherida Sessa, Greenbuild brand director. “Ms. Figueres is a global leader and through her leadership brought forward one of the most valuable commitments to combating climate change the world has seen. Her dedication to humanity and actionable change is unwavering and we are excited to hear her outlook on the future.”

Ms. Figueres is credited with forging a new brand of collaborative diplomacy. During her tenure as executive secretary of the UNFCCC from 2010 – 2016, Ms. Figueres brought together national and sub-national governments, corporations, activists, financial institutions and NGO’s to jointly deliver the historic Paris Agreement on climate change in which 195 sovereign nations agreed on a collaborative path forward to limit future global warming to protect the most vulnerable. Since then, Ms. Figueres has continued to serve her one and only boss – the global atmosphere. Ms. Figueres will share the future of purpose driven work and initiatives led through Global Optimism, her latest co-founded venture focused on social and environmental change. 

Ms. Figueres’ participation in Greenbuild 2020 reinforces the event’s continued commitment to bringing the leading innovators together to further the green building community’s mission to deliver a higher living standard for all.

“Ms. Figueres brings with her a wealth of knowledge and experience that demonstrates how bold thinking can drive change at local and global levels,” said Kim Heavner, vice president of conference and events at USGBC. “Her insights and commitment to innovative ideas and approaches will be a valuable contribution as we gather the green building industry together to share best practices and solutions for creating a world that prioritizes the health of all people. As we consider the current challenges the world is facing, we know that green building has never been more important and will be a critical part of building a healthy, sustainable, resilient and equitable future for all.”

Greenbuild, the largest green building conference and expo in the world, is produced by Informa Connect and presented by USGBC. Greenbuild 2020 features an all-virtual format with expanded education and high-demand topics including social equity, materials, circular economy, health and wellness, resilience, green building, corporate social responsibility and more.

Previous Greenbuild keynote speakers have included former President Barack Obama, Ret. Gen. Colin Powell, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, former President Bill Clinton, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, famed architect Bjarke Ingles, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, human rights activist Amal Clooney, former Vice President and climate activist Al Gore, and many others.

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USGBC Releases New LEED Guidance to Address COVID-19 and Support Buildings with Reopening Strategies

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has released four new Safety First Pilot Credits in response to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). The credits outline sustainable best practices that align with public health and industry guidelines related to cleaning and disinfecting, workplace re-occupancy, HVAC and plumbing operations. The credits can be used by LEED projects that are certified or are undergoing certification. 

The Safety First credits are part of USGBC’s economic recovery strategy released last month, which focuses on sustainable solutions to rebuild a stronger and healthier economy by prioritizing healthy people in healthy places. The credits were created in direct response to COVID-19 and focus on the safety of those working in a building. These credits are available to all LEED 2009, LEED v4 and LEED v4.1 projects. 

“These new credits are a first step in helping the building and construction industry demonstrate its commitment to sustainable strategies as part of building a healthier, more resilient future,” saidMahesh Ramanujam, president & CEO of USGBC. “Supporting environmental and occupant health is a critical part of supporting community health and, as we look ahead, we know LEED and the USGBC community will play a role in delivering solutions that lay a better foundation for our economic and environmental well-being.”

The Safety First: Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Space credit requires facilities to create a policy and implement procedures that follow green cleaning best practices that support a healthy indoor environment and worker safety. Unlike the need to develop new vaccines and medical treatments for COVID-19, current disinfectants and cleaning processes are effective against the Coronavirus, and sustainable options exist. In addition to product considerations, the credit also requires procedures and training for cleaning personnel, occupant education and other services that are within a management team’s control. 

The Safety First: Re-Enter Your Workspace credit is a tool to assess and plan for re-entry, as well as measure progress once a space is occupied. It identifies sustainable requirements in building operations and human behavior that take precautions against the spread of COVID-19. It aligns with the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Re-occupancy Assessment Tool and requires transparent reporting and evaluation of decisions to encourage continuous improvement.

The Safety First: Building Water System Recommissioning credit helps building teams reduce the risk that occupants are exposed to degraded water quality. Building and business closures over weeks or months reduce water usage that can potentially lead to stagnant water and water that is unsafe to drink or use. The credit integrates recommendations from industry organizations and experts, including the U.S. EPA and CDC. It requires buildings to develop and implement a water management plan, coordinate with local water and public health authorities, communicate water system activities and associated risks to building occupants and take steps to address water quality from the community supply, as well as the building. 

The Safety First: Managing Indoor Air Quality During COVID-19 credit builds on existing indoor air quality requirements and credits in LEED. Building teams should ensure indoor air quality systems are operating as designed and determine temporary adjustments to ventilation that may minimize the spread of COVID-19 through the air. Additional considerations include increasing ventilation and air filtration, physical distancing of occupants and following measures outlined in public health and industry resources, as well as guidance found in the Re-Enter Your Workspace credit. The guidance also encourages monitoring and evaluating indoor air quality on an ongoing basis.

These credits are based on current, known information. USGBC will refine its recommendations and is looking for feedback on the new credits.  

In addition to these new LEED pilot credits, projects can also take advantage of Arc Re-entry, a set of resources launching tomorrow to help facility teams assess and communicate recovery efforts, as well as the WELL Health-Safety Rating. GBCI will be providing third party certification support for the WELL Health-Safety Rating. 

For more than a quarter century, USGBC has defined global best practices for designing, constructing and operating sustainable buildings and spaces through LEED. LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is the world’s most widely used green building rating system and promotes the use of strategies that reduce environmental impact, enhance human health and support economic development. Currently, there are over 102,000 projects across nearly 180 countries and territories participating.

With much of the country entering into an initial reopening phase, businesses and government must rebuild people’s trust and demonstrate how the estimated 5.6 million commercial buildings in the U.S. are focused on health and committed to positively impacting communities moving forward. Third party verification systems like LEED provide guidance on best practices and encourage transparency. USGBC is focused on sharing its recommendations with all projects, regardless of whether they are pursuing LEED certification, in an effort to continue to support economic recovery while also laying the foundation for society to be more sustainable, healthy and equitable.

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USGBC Launches New “Insight” Feature to Help Green Building Projects Prioritize Sustainability Strategies, Improve Performance

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) launched Insight, a new data-driven tool that highlights building project design features that can lead to better performance. Insight is available as a feature of the Arc platform and provides information on the design attributes of LEED certified buildings within a specified geographic region. Project teams can then compare and rank potential sustainability strategies to see how they stack up against the performance of other buildings. Insight leverages the depth of the existing LEED data to aid designers and builders in adopting smart, practical and achievable sustainability strategies.

“The Insight tool is all about partnership, innovation and green building performance,” said Mahesh Ramanujam, president and CEO, USGBC. “USGBC has a vision of a performance-oriented future and the trajectory of LEED is to continue to improve the performance throughout the lifecycle of buildings. Holistically, LEED enables the best possible buildings – and with tools like Insight, it will also allow building owners and city leaders to better track progress toward their environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals.”

Insight can be leveraged by LEED and green building teams to improve the design – and eventually performance – of their buildings by encouraging the implementation of best practices during the design and construction stage. Insight helps green building and LEED project teams identify practices that could improve building performance and eliminate those that pose a risk to their long-term investment. The new tool is part of USGBC’s continued efforts to leverage data and technology to encourage more informed decisions around sustainability.

Insight was created in partnership with Skanska – a project development and construction group – and also USGBC member company and longtime supporter of the green building movement. Experts from both organizations worked together over two years to develop the tool.

“Insight can compare your project team’s aspirations for energy, water and waste savings with results from similar buildings in your region, which allows you to visualize how the performance of your project stacks up to other buildings like yours and will help you make informed decisions about practical and achievable sustainability strategies,” said Beth Heider, FAIA, chief sustainability officer, Skanska USA. “Skanska is proud of this work alongside USGBC that provides design phase insight to the Arc platform.” 

The ability to consider the impact of strategies and decisions will help building teams be more effective in tracking sustainability performance and progress. Insight supports teams pursuing LEED certification, as well as projects that are already certified, but are committed to maintaining a high level of performance or seeking recertification.  

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USGBC Welcomes Four New Board Members and Names New Board Chair

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) welcomes four new members onto its board and announced Dr. Aaron Bernstein, associate director at Harvard University’s Center for Health and the Global Environment, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health as the new board chair. The new members include Dan McQuade, managing director at Global Infrastructure Solutions; Karen Weigert, vice president of business strategy and regional operations at Slipstream; Doug Woods, co-founder of DPR Construction; and Lakisha Ann Woods, president and CEO of the National Institute of Building Sciences.

“Dr. Bernstein has been a longtime supporter of USGBC and we’re fortunate to have him step into this new role as our board chair,” said Mahesh Ramanujam, president and CEO, USGBC. “Our board plays a pivotal role in guiding USGBC as we look for new ways to shape the future of green building and we’re grateful for their service. The addition of Dan, Karen, Doug and Lakisha Ann provides us with valuable perspectives as we remain committed to elevating the living standard for all through healthier, more sustainable buildings, cities and communities.”

Dr. Aaron Bernstein’s work at Harvard examines the human health effects of global environmental changes, such as climate change and the loss of biodiversity, with the aim of promoting a deeper understanding of these subjects among students, educators, policymakers and the public. He is the course director for Harvard’s Human Health and Global Environmental Change. Dr Bernstein also created the HarvardX course “The Health Effects of Climate Change,” which has educated thousands of students on how climate change directly impacts their lives, and what they can do to become part of the solution. In 2019, Dr. Bernstein testified before Congress on the child health impacts of climate change, drawing from his personal experience as a pediatrician having to treat children with breathing difficulties, vector-borne diseases, and trauma from natural disasters. He is also a pediatric hospitalist at Boston Children’s Hospital. 

Dan McQuade is a recognized expert in the design and construction of buildings and infrastructure across a range of market sectors. He is currently managing director at Global Infrastructure Solutions (GIS), a diversified engineering and construction industry enterprise with eight leading construction, program and project management companies. Prior to joining GIS, McQuade was the global president for the $8 billion Construction Services Group of AECOM. Under his leadership, AECOM Construction Services’ gross revenue grew from $1.4 billion in 2012 to $8.24 billion in 2018 through both organic and acquisitive investments. Before joining AECOM as part of the AECOM Tishman acquisition, McQuade served as president of Tishman, where he was appointed in October 2005, and oversaw landmark construction in the United States.

Karen Weigert leads the Chicago office and strategic initiatives for Slipstream, a nonprofit that tests, delivers and scales next-generation energy programs and products. She provides leadership in the areas of strategy development and execution that grows Slipstream’s impacts in decarbonization and resilience. Weigert also served as the first chief sustainability officer for the City of Chicago. She led the city’s development and delivery of the Sustainable Chicago 2015 Action Agenda; launched the Greencorps Chicago Youth Program; implemented energy benchmarking legislation; led Chicago Solar Express and Solar Chicago; and launched Retrofit Chicago. Prior to her work with the city, Weigert was senior vice president at ShoreBank (later Urban Partnership Bank) where she built a national consumer group that generated deposits to support environmental sustainability and community development in low- to moderate-income urban neighborhoods. She began her career as an investment banker at Goldman Sachs and later served as an appointee in the Clinton administration, focused on global environmental issues and agriculture. Weigert also was a producer and writer on the documentary film, Carbon Nation, which focused on solutions to climate change.

Doug Woods is the “D” of DPR Construction and one of the company’s three co-founders. With more than 40 years in the industry, Woods serves on the board of directors for this forward-thinking contractor specializing in technically complex and sustainable projects. When Woods co-founded DPR in 1990, he had an audacious vision. With an eye toward the future, Woods looks for ways to continuously improve and for new opportunities that move the company and the industry forward. Today, the privately held, employee-owned organization has grown to $6 billion in annual revenue, making it one of the largest general contractors in the United States and a story of entrepreneurial success. He is also part of the advisory board for WND Ventures, an investment company focused on changing the way things are done in the AEC industry.

Lakisha Ann Woods, CAE, is the president and CEO of the National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS). Woods is responsible for leading the Institute’s dedicated team, enhancing its value and visibility and growing relationships with its members, clients, public agencies and partners. She also leads efforts to expand the organization’s programs and markets. Prior to joining NIBS, she was the senior vice president and chief marketing officer at the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), where she oversaw all marketing and revenue-generating programs, including sponsorship sales and partnerships with major national companies. Woods also serves on the board of directors for the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) and is the past chair of ASAE’s Communications Section Council and has spoken at national and international industry events.

Former President Barack Obama to Keynote the 2019 Greenbuild International Conference and Expo

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and Informa Connect announced that Former President Barack Obama will speak at the Wednesday keynote of the 2019 Greenbuild International Conference and Expo. This year’s conference will take place Nov. 19-22 in Atlanta, Ga. at the LEED Gold Georgia World Congress Center. Registration is now open.

“USGBC is deeply honored that President Obama has accepted our invitation to speak at Greenbuild 2019,” said Mahesh Ramanujam, President and CEO, USGBC. “President Obama is a global leader and a longtime friend of the green building community. While in office, his administration negotiated the landmark Paris Climate Accords, expanded the impact of our field and helped open the door for energy efficiency investments in both the public and private sectors. I know that when he joins us on the keynote stage in November, he will impart his ideas, passion and vision to our growing global green building family.”

Barack H. Obama is the 44th President of the United States. He took office at a moment of crisis unlike any America had seen in decades – a nation at war, a planet in peril, the American Dream itself threatened by the worst economic calamity since the Great Depression. And yet, despite all manner of political obstruction, Obama’s leadership helped rescue the economy, revitalize the American auto industry, reform the health care system to cover another 20 million Americans, and put the country on a firm course to a clean energy future – all while overseeing the longest stretch of job creation in American history. 

“As the green building movement evolves and continues to permeate our everyday lives, President Obama is a valuable leader to bring that vision to life,” said Andrew Mullins, CEO, Informa Connect. “His commitment to unite humanity in combating a changing climate is a great example to follow. At the 2019 event, our attendees, exhibitors, and all participants of Greenbuild will be celebrating the notion that every human, regardless of circumstances, deserves to live a long and healthy life. There is no better voice or embodiment of that than President Obama.”

Previous Greenbuild keynote speakers have included Ret. Gen. Colin Powell, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, former President Bill Clinton, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, famed architect Bjarke Ingles, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, human rights activist Amal Clooney, former Vice President and climate activist Al Gore, and many others.

Greenbuild, the largest green building conference and expo in the world, is produced by Informa Connect and presented by USGBC. Greenbuild 2019 features four days of networking, educational sessions, green building tours, keynote events, and a robust expo floor.

For more information and to register for Greenbuild, visit

USGBC Opens Call for Proposals for the Next Version of LEED

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC)announced a call for proposals to solicit feedback and concepts for the next version of LEED. USGBC created the LEED green building program 20 years ago to measure and define green building and to provide a roadmap for developing sustainable buildings. LEED is updated through a continuous improvement process and with each new version USGBC is evolving LEED’s approach and challenging the building sector to be more resource efficient and sustainable.

In April 2019, USGBC officially released the complete suite of LEED v4.1 rating systems. LEED v4.1 emphasizes the human experience and pushes project teams to create spaces that not only reduce carbon emissions, energy, water use and waste, but also improve the health and well-being of the people who live, work, learn and play in these buildings, cities and communities every day.

“With LEED v4.1 we have fundamentally transformed our rating system development process,” said Mahesh Ramanujam, president and CEO, USGBC. “It has allowed us to become more agile and adaptable to incorporate real time feedback so that we can realistically raise the bar on the marketplace. We received an overwhelming response to our LEED v4.1 call for proposals, which has helped us to deliver on the market needs making LEED v4.1 successful and a market leader. Building on this success, we are excited to engage the market again to solicit ideas, proposals and feedback for improving LEED v4.1 and future versions of LEED. Together, we can continue the work we started with LEED v4.1 to ensure that LEED is not only the de facto leadership standard but also creating a better living standard.”

Cities around the world are mitigating climate risks by pledging to raise the bar to reduce carbon emissions. Investors are weighing their opportunities, consciously screening for projects that align with their values and prove winning ESG strategies. Building owners are pivoting focus to the occupants to reduce inequality, combat health concerns and deliver value to support the day-to-day needs of everyone and raise their living standard. The trajectory of LEED is to support these market changes by continuing to improve the performance throughout the lifecycle of buildings, advance net zero and net positive practices, and reward leaders based on their performance to enable building owners and city leaders to track progress toward environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals.

“There would be no LEED without the generous support of our members, advocates and stakeholders,” added Ramanujam. “I want to personally thank everyone who has supported us over the last 20 years and contributed to LEED’s development and growth. I am proud of what we’ve been able to do together this year with LEED v4.1, and I am excited and optimistic for what the future holds. I invite all members of the green building community to participate and help us define the vision for the next version of LEED as we work together to build a better future – because that future would not be possible without their leadership.

“Imagine a rating system adaptive and responsive to the ever-changing world around us. This is what we are working toward with LEED,” said Melissa Baker, senior vice president, LEED. “Now that LEED v4.1 is out and has been positively received by the community, we are exploring how we can strengthen LEED v4.1 and also plan what’s next for the rating system. We are working to ensure that LEED remains a global leadership standard, and we know that as we evolve LEED, industry feedback and support are critical.”

The USGBC community can participate in the call for LEED proposals session. Industry leaders can also join USGBC at the annual Greenbuild International Conference and Expo,  taking place in Atlanta November 19-22, 2019, for the “Future of LEED”  education session, which will review market feedback and provide updates on performance-based outcomes, transparency and continuous improvement to future versions of LEED.

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Standard for the Design of High-Performance Green Buildings Is Open for Public Review

Changes to the purpose and scope that reflect advances in green buildings over the last 10 years are proposed for the high performance building standard from ASHRAE, the International Code Council (ICC), the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES).

ASHRAE/IES/USGBC/ICC Standard 189.1, Standard for the Design of High-Performance Green Buildings, contains minimum requirements for the siting, design and construction of high-performance green buildings in support of reducing building energy use, resource consumption and other environmental impacts while maintaining acceptable indoor environments.

Among them is addenda o, which proposes revisions to the existing purpose and scope of the standard to clarify its intended purposes and application, and to better reflect the revisions to the standard that are being considered by the committee.

Committee chair Andrew Persily notes that the current title, purpose and scope were approved in 2006 and that much has taken place in the world of green buildings in the past 10 years.

Under addenda o, the purpose of the standard has been rewritten to focus on goals vs. strategies. For example, rather than energy efficiency, the goal of reduced building emissions is proposed for inclusion in the purpose.

A new section of the purpose speaks to the alignment of Standard 189.1 with the International Green Construction Code (IgCC), noting specifically that the standard is intended to serve as the technical basis of mandatory buildings codes and regulations for high-performance buildings.

Standard 189.1 currently is a compliance option of the 2015 IgCC, published by the International Code Council, ASTM and the American Institute of Architects. The standard will serve as the technical content for the IgCC beginning in 2018.

Other addenda open for public review until May 8, 2016 are:

  • Addendum i reorganizes the roof heat island mitigation section and adds new provisions for vegetated terrace and roofing systems relative to plant selection, growing medium, roof membrane protection and clearances. In addition, provisions for the operation and maintenance of vegetated roofs are proposed for addition to Section 10.
  • Addendum n clarifies footnote b to Table 7.5.2A. This footnote provides a method to adjust the percent reduction for buildings with unregulated energy cost exceeding 35 percent of the total energy cost. This addendum clarifies that the adjustment is to be made on the basis of energy cost, not energy use.
  • Addendum p proposes to add requirements for water bottle filling stations, which are intended to improve water efficiency and sanitation of public drinking water and to reduce the environmental effects of plastic bottles.
  • Addendum r lowers the ductwork pressure testing threshold to include 3-inch pressure class ducts, which are common upstream of variable air volume (VAV) boxes.
  • Addendum t adds new requirements for reverse osmosis and onsite reclaimed water systems in order to reduce the likelihood of excessive water use because of poor design of water treatment and filter system.
  • Addendum u adds new requirements for water softeners to reduce water consumption given the impact of the design and efficiency of these systems on water discharge water rates.

Open for public review from April 8 until May 23, 2016 are:

  • Addendum q modifies Chapters 5, 7, 8 and 11, as well as Appendices A and E, to reflect the addition of Climate Zone 0 in ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 169-2013, Climatic Data for Building Design Standards.
  • Addendum s removes the performance option for water use and moves the prescriptive option into the mandatory section.