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2013: It's a wrap

Published on 20 Dec 2013 Written by Joseph Crea Posted in LEED

I experienced my first Greenbuild this year and had no idea what to expect. As the manager of our international marketing and communication efforts, I found it to be an exhilarating experience. A whirlwind of passion, activity and commitment.

At USGBC we often speak about how LEED is global language. A language that allows us to distribute intelligence throughout the world. A language that allows us to compare how a LEED-certified building in Beijing is performing with one in Dubai, or Chicago. 

Having met many extraordinary people from across the globe at Greenbuild, this concept of LEED as a language became more and more apparent. Everyone—domestically and internationally—is working aggressively to further develop and advance our shared goal of a greener, more sustainable planet.

LEED is, indeed, a language and people know how to speak it. 

We had a busy 2013, seeding many of our international outreaches and efforts, much of which was reflected at Greenbuild 2013. In case you did not have the opportunity to attend, I’d like to share with you a few takeaways. In short, there’s one word to be mindful of: performance, performance, performance!

The latest generation of LEED—more robust, global and deeply rooted in performance—was launched. A “quantum leap” for the LEED Rating System as described by Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO and founding chair of USGBC:

“Over the past 15 years, LEED has fundamentally revolutionized how we design, construct, operate and maintain our buildings and communities. LEED has created a completely new industry of business enterprise committed to energy savings and efficiency. LEED v4 is as much a testament to the achievements of LEED project teams around the world as it is to the green building community’s ambition to create significant global and local change through resource-efficient, cost-effective green buildings.”

Scot Horst, USGBC’s Senior Vice President of LEED added this bit of Technicolor:

“LEED v4, at its core, provides insight into the synergies within the building system, providing solutions for optimizing performance, and ultimately achieving better environmental, economic and social outcomes in our buildings. It is the LEED of the future, where we challenge the marketplace to go further, to make the next great leap toward better, cleaner, healthier buildings where people live and work.”

Haworth, and their beautiful showroom in Beijing, became the very first project outside the United States to certify using the latest generation of LEED. The LEED Gold certification of this showroom space—nestled inside the massive LEED Platinum glass pyramid that is Parkview Green in Beijing—underscores that LEED works for all building types, even those with exacting requirements such as a company’s showroom space.  

Switching for a moment to the domestic front, 1800 K Street in Washington D.C.—an existing building—became the first U.S. project to receive LEED v4 certification. These two projects have demonstrated true leadership.

Building on the extensive performance features of the latest version of LEED, we also introduced the LEED Dynamic Plaque. Everyone has seen and certainly recognizes the LEED plaques that adorn the walls of our 20,000 projects across the globe. The dashboard of the new plaque focuses on monitoring energy use, water use, waste production, transportation use, and occupant satisfaction. The ultimate goal? How well are LEED buildings performing over time. It cannot get any simpler!

Stepping up the performance game, The Qatar Foundation successfully earned LEED Platinum for 12 individual student residence buildings. This incredibly cool project is a significant accomplishment not only because these buildings represent the very highest level of achievement in green building but also because these buildings will house the next generation of innovators, leaders, and professionals. USGBC COO Mahesh Ramanujam’s hat tip on this achievement:

 “The engineers, architects and builders in that country [Qatar] are reminded every time they look out the window that sustainability is more than a lifestyle choice. It is essential to their future.”

The future is very much on our minds here at USGBC especially when we consider the impact the built environment has on human health. Let's face it. A healthy built environment where we live, work, and play matters. At Greenbuild, we had a number of panel discussions on how our built environment--and the materials that go into our buildings--has an impact on human health. As our keynote speaker, Hillary Clinton, rightly points out:

“This movement is also about the health and wellbeing of our citizens, especially our children. Removing toxic building materials, improving air quality, encouraging creative lifestyles and walkable neighborhoods is a much healthier way to live.”

And USGBC’s Vice President for Organization Development, Roger Limoges, added:

“At USGBC, we know that LEED buildings can have a positive, measurable impact on human health, wellness and occupant experience—but given the rising global challenge of human health, it is now time to move from anecdotal evidence to intentional action linked to thoughtful evaluation. It's time to bridge the public health and design community and benefit from evidenced-based and citizen science research, while advancing solutions for tomorrow's challenges today.”

Indeed, USGBC is well underway to bridging that gap. A recent report clearly indicates that LEED has a longstanding history promoting improved human health, comfort and wellbeing as LEED Fellow Anthony Bernheim notes.

UTC, our sponsor of the Greenbuild International Summit for the past four years, announced a new research project in an area of the built environment that is important to all: hotels. The research--in conjunction with key universities--will analyze hotel energy consumption profiles and the impact of energy efficiency investments (performance!) for over 1000 hotels worldwide. UTC's Chief Sustainability Officer John Mandyck added that hotels consume two and a half times more energy than an office building. 

Project Haiti made many advances this year, chiefly a name: The William Jefferson Clinton Children's Center. The project, an orphanage and children’s facility that USGBC will construct in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, is aiming for LEED Platinum certification. Some thoughts from America’s 42nd president and USGBC’s president:

“The U.S. Green Building Council and their partners are helping to rebuild Haiti to be stronger than ever before. This remarkable project will give many Haitian children a better chance to live their best life story, and I am deeply honored by this dedication,” President William Jefferson Clinton.

“As we progress toward a project groundbreaking, we are honored to name the project for the individual who helped spark the conscience of the world toward a powerful humanitarian response, including using green resilient rebuilding practices to help protect its citizens going forward.” USGBC’s President, CEO and Founding Chair, Rick Fedrizzi.

Also, Citibank became the first company in Haiti to achieve LEED certification for its new offices.

The Green Building Council Italia (GBC Italia) and Green Building Council Brazil (GBC Brazil) announced that in addition to the U.S. Greenbuild, Greenbuild is coming to their respective countries. GBC Italia's Mario Zoccatelli noted that Verona will be the host city for Greenbuild in October 2014:

“LEED, as a global system, provides unique opportunities for us to advance green building in a completely new way. Greenbuild will serve as a mechanism to promote LEED and other green building tools across the continent. We are excited about creating the Greenbuild conference in the European and Mediterranean region.”

GBC Brazil's Felipe Faria added that Greenbuild Brazil will take place in São Paulo in August 2014. Additionally, Faria added that all stadiums for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil are currently LEED registered. Indeed one stadium, Castelão Arena, just certified

The Global Coalition for Green Schools, which works to promote a shared vision of green schools for all within this generation, announced the 29 founding members of the coalition. All have committed to establishing and leading a national coalition for green schools within each of their respective countries. Rachel Gutter, director of the Center for Green Schools at USGBC, on the new coalition:

 “What inspires us and keeps us humble is seeing how much we have to learn from one another. Our approaches to greening schools may look very different, but what we all desire is to give our children every possible opportunity to succeed.”

USGBC COO Mahesh Ramanujam proudly announced nine winners of USGBC's LEED Earth campaign which is designed to bring LEED to countries where LEED has yet to take root. In the coming months, we'll be doing some heavy promotion of our winners--Bahrain, Burundi, Honduras, Haiti, South Sudan, Luxembourg, Tunisia, Serbia and Ukraine—and we will also expand our marketing efforts around this campaign in 2014.

Let’s LEED On to 2014!

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    Joseph Crea made 10 contributions in the last 6 months

Joseph Crea

International Marketing & Communications Specialist

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LEED Consultant, KKECO
Yeah! Let's LEED On to 2014.

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