Advocacy and Policy at USGBC: Working for green
The Advocacy and Policy team at USGBC is always working to advance green building and the environment. We'll be sharing highlights of our activities a few times a year, so you can keep up with what we're doing for our membership!
As it is every year, Greenbuild was a major focus of USGBC’s advocacy and policy efforts in the last quarter of 2015. Hosting the conference in Washington, D.C., presented many unique opportunities to engage with government officials.
- On Greenbuild Monday, Bryan Howard, Jeremy Sigmon and Christina Kuo joined representatives from USGBC member companies on Capitol Hill to meet with congressional offices and express the importance of green building to their businesses. Among other things, the group urged congressional members to support the renewal of tax incentives for real estate and energy efficiency (this was successfully renewed in December).
- Throughout the conference, the team showcased USGBC members and the bustling green building industry to national, state and local policymakers and connected with many of our advocates on activities across the country. Grant Olear gave a tour to a Commerce Department and International Code Council (ICC) group of building code officials from the Gulf Region. Delaware Governor Jack Markell visited the expo hall for a tour with Advocacy team members. We also walked the conference halls promoting the Building and Real Estate Climate Declaration that focused on marshaling a call to action for an international climate agreement from our industry.
- Senior Vice President for Marketing, Communications and Advocacy Taryn Holowka, along with Nick Brousse and Liz Beardsley, hosted a half-day summit for federal agency officials to connect on green building activities in the federal government. The keynote address was given by Christine Harada, a former top GSA official who was on her first day on the job as Chief Sustainability Officer for the White House Council on Economic Quality (CEQ). The summit’s sessions featured speakers from government agencies as well as from USGBC, covering topics ranging from new tools for sustainable buildings, including LEED v4, to increasing resilience and tackling the greening of existing buildings.
In December, all eyes were on the Paris climate talks. Liz Beardsley represented the team at COP21, where a historic agreement was reached between nearly 200 nations. While there, Liz helped coordinate activities and meetings for the Local Climate Leaders Circle, a joint venture between ICLEI, WWF, NLC and USGBC that brought 11 local elected officials from across the United States to Paris to show support for a commitment at the national and international levels. Check out some of her articles on takeaways from COP21 in BOM Magazine and usgbc.org.
Throughout the quarter, the team was engaged in an array of work to support green building-friendly policy, from research to advocacy:
- Nick Brousse and Christina Kuo engaged with member companies and allies to engage in a public dialogue over greening affordable housing in Oregon.
- Jeremy Sigmon worked with USGBC National Capital Region and USGBC Maryland to help facilitate discussion on and feedback into how local codes and LEED should work together.
- Christina Kuo also concluded work with USGBC Hampton Roads, USGBC Greater Virginia, USGBC National Capital Region, and AIA Virginia on a voter guide designed to inform voters on how their candidates for the state house and senate view green building and LEED.
- Bryan Howard led advocacy and monitoring of a number of federal bills, including Congress’s omnibus budget, which was recently passed and accompanied by extension of tax incentives for clean energy, real estate and building efficiency.
- In November and December, we also delivered testimony and filed comments to EPA on the Clean Power Plan, recommending changes to better ensure states make energy efficiency a core of their compliance programs.
In December, we were also very pleased to welcome Alysson Blackwelder as the newest member of the team.
2016 is already in high gear, with advocacy activities all over the globe. Thank you for your support of USGBC, green building and LEED. Stay tuned for future quarterly updates from the Advocacy and Policy team.