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November 2009
USGBC: World Citizen

Green building is a global movement, and USGBC has a growing commitment to ensuring our message has a global reach. Our international activities at Greenbuild and our expertise in policy, in technical green building issues, and in supporting the drive for a common carbon metric position us well to play a constructive role on the world stage in advancing the contributions of the built environment toward solving climate change.

As evidence of this commitment, this week, USGBC will join other green building councils and thought leaders from around the world in Copenhagen, Denmark, for the Conference of the Parties (COP15) United Nations Climate Change Conference. World leaders continue to struggle to find consensus around defining common goals and targets to address climate change, but during these critical meetings USGBC will aggressively add its voice to others who see greenhouse gas reductions from buildings as a fundamental strategy that should be addressed as part of the outcome of this round of talks.

Greenbuild 2009 – with its 27,373 attendees from 78 countries, hundreds of participants in the WorldGBC’s International Congress, and a dozen leaders of green building councils from every region of the world participating in the Opening Keynote & Celebration – underscored our international dedication. USGBC is committed to harnessing that energy and excitement with a focus on some clear international goals that will help us elevate the conversation.

One of those priorities is a common carbon metric. A fundamental aspect of tackling our carbon reduction goals is the ability to measure our progress, and to do that we need to have a common language worldwide. In November, the world’s leading green building organizations – including USGBC – reached a ground-breaking agreement to adopt a common global metric for the measurement of the carbon footprint of buildings. This is a critical and timely step that will demonstrate the cost-effective carbon mitigation potential of buildings, which account for around 40% of the world’s energy use and 33% of global greenhouse gas emissions. You can follow the events at Copenhagen by checking back regularly at the COP15 news page.

Essential to supporting the green building movement internationally is building capacity on the ground in local communities worldwide, providing professionals, policy makers and others with the tools and training they need to make green building a reality. Throughout 2009, the model by which USGBC develops, delivers and supports LEED and green building knowledge underwent a major evolution that will allow us to serve global as well as domestic audiences more effectively. We are working with green building councils and partners worldwide to bring our LEED curriculum to their communities. We will have increasing capacity to train green building professionals across the globe to serve as LEED instructors. Our course review process will allow us to identify and support quality green building education developed by third-party providers, including green building councils, international and multinational companies offering training for their employees, universities and formal education institutions, and others. We will offer education development services to help third-party providers create and improve their own green building curriculum. And we are committed to providing translations of select publications and courses, beginning with Spanish during 2010. Questions may be directed to the USGBC education department.

The USGBC community helps frame the global conversation about climate change mitigation, economic revitalization, and the other environmental and social challenges we face. We see that definitively in LEED’s increasing uptake in the world marketplace. At the end of the third quarter of 2009, there were 4,599 LEED APs outside of the United States. Currently, there are 2,688 non-U.S. green building projects registered or certified under LEED in 117 countries. Clearly, on the ground here and around the world, the pace of green building and the work of green building professionals underscore the immediacy and importance of the impact of green buildings.

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