About | U.S. Green Building Council
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The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is committed to transforming the way our buildings are designed, constructed and operated through LEED — the top third-party verification system for sustainable structures around the world.

Every day USGBC is helping advance spaces that are better for the environment and healthier for us to live, work and play in. Through our community network, continuous collaboration with industry experts, market research publications and LEED professional credentials, USGBC remains a key driving force in the green building sector.

Our History

More than 20 years ago, USGBC was established to help advance better buildings in our everyday lives.

Rick Fedrizzi, David Gottfried and Mike Italiano established USGBC in 1993 with a mission to promote sustainability-focused practices in the building and construction industry. Representatives from around 60 firms and several nonprofits gathered that April in the American Institute of Architects’ boardroom for the council’s founding meeting.

It was then that ideas were shared for an open and balanced coalition spanning the entire building industry and for a green building rating system, which would later become LEED. Since the rating system’s unveiling in 2000, it has become an international standard for environmentally sound buildings, certifying hundreds of thousands of square feet per day.

About LEED

No matter where a LEED project is, its certification is an achievement in green building that’s recognized around the world.

LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a certification program for buildings and communities that guides their design, construction, operations and maintenance toward sustainability. It’s based on prerequisites and credits that a project meets to achieve a certification level: Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum.

Our staff strives to ensure LEED stays innovative, technically rigorous and market relevant. LEED regularly undergoes evaluations and other improvements, whether through clarification of specific credit’s language, an adaptation to an existing rating system, or a comprehensive update to an entire suite of rating systems.

USGBC also has developed alternative compliance paths to LEED credits, providing more options to address unique circumstances and accommodate advancements in science and technology.

Advocacy & Policy

At USGBC, we work with government, member businesses and allied organizations to support policies and programs that advance greener buildings and communities.

Backed by the strength of tools, community and research, we use direct advocacy, strategic partnerships, campaigns and engagement to drive development of standards, programs and regulations that enable a greener, more resilient and prosperous future. Learn more about green building-related and LEED-specific policies across the U.S. in the USGBC Public Policy Library. The library is an interactive platform that shares details on policies at the federal, state and local levels that incentivize, require or otherwise promote green building measures — including LEED. See also: Advocacy Resources.

Green building is projected to see positive growth for years to come, with its influence reaching across the U.S. economy, generating significant environmental and social benefits. Review the 2015 Green Building Economic Impact Study to learn more. Inspired by this impact, our advocacy efforts are currently focused on the following priorities:

Government leadership by example

Federal, state and local governments recognize the importance of leading by example in energy and green building policy. Improving resource efficiency represents an enormous opportunity to save taxpayer money, save energy and water, and drive investment and jobs. At every level, from coast to coast, we see examples of pioneering policies and building practices that benefit the broader building industry.

Private sector market transformation

Governments help support robust private sector green building activity with policies to incentivize building green and removing unnecessary barriers. At USGBC, we promote policies of all types that foster market transformation, including structural incentives like density and height bonuses and expedited or no-cost permitting, information mechanisms like benchmarking, and financial incentives like tax credits, grants and low interest loans.

Raising the bar on codes and regulations

Building codes and regulations play an integral role in fostering the progress necessary to realize far-reaching and truly sustainable buildings and communities. States and cities have critical roles in improving baseline-building requirements, and in establishing policies that promote best-in-class building strategies and practices. We work to support this transformation and to help align baseline building code with above-code green building certification using LEED, to facilitate seamless improvement.

Community-wide sustainability

Sustainable communities look beyond a single building and holistically use smart design and construction and operation practices to enhance community connectivity and wellness and reduce environmental impacts, from effects on local waterways to contributions to global warming. Public policy supporting sustainable communities can also unlock economic growth and provide important opportunities to build in-demand skills in the construction workforce. Through our work with Resilient Communities for America and other partnerships, we support planning, design, and building strategies that help communities build better, more resilient futures.


USGBC relies on our expert staff, Board of Directors and Advisory Council to help coordinate our activities and global programs.

The USGBC Board of Directors is comprised of seven elected directors, one appointed director and the CEO, who serves as ex-officio and is a non-voting member. They meet in person several times a year and regularly by teleconference.

The USGBC Advisory Council provides industry leadership and experience, recommending policy and initiatives to the board. Members connect with key stakeholder groups across the sustainability movement and identify emerging opportunities and needs. They're employed by member companies and appointed by the Board, following an open nomination process, to represent a specific perspective.

To contact the board or advisory council, email board@usgbc.org. View the latest board meeting minutes.

USGBC executive staff

Mahesh Ramanujam
President and CEO

Taryn Holowka
Senior Vice President

Melissa Baker
Senior Vice President

Sarah Alexander
Senior Vice President

Kate Hurst
Senior Vice President

David Witek
Senior Vice President

Susan Dorn
General Counsel

Jennifer Druliner
Vice President

Sarah Karle
Senior Director

Ashley Fowler

David Witek
Senior Vice President

Roger Limoges
Senior Vice President

Roger Platt
Senior Vice President

Kimberly Lewis
Senior Vice President

Doug Gatlin
Senior Vice President

Peter Templeton
Senior Vice President

David Witek
Senior Vice President

Brendan Owens
Senior Vice President

Roger Platt
Senior Vice President

Board of Directors

Mike McNally, Chair
McNally Green, and retired President and CEO, Skanska USA

Bob Fox, Vice Chair
Partner, COOKFox Architects and Terrapin Bright Green

Chrissa Pagitsas, Secretary-Treasurer
Director, Multifamily Green Initiative, Fannie Mae

Paul Anastas
Professor, and Director, Center for Green Chemistry and Green Engineering, Yale University

Janine Benyus
Co-founder, Biomimicry 3.8 and The Biomimicry Institute

Aaron Bernstein
Associate Director, Center for Health and the Global Environment, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Bruce Oreck
Executive in Residence, Aalto University and former U.S. Ambassador to Finland

Mahesh Ramanujam, Ex-officio
President and CEO, U.S. Green Building Council

Emma Stewart
Chief Business Development Officer, Impact Infrastructure

Advisory Council

Emma Stewart

  • Seat: Technology, 2017 Chair
  • Affiliation: Impact Infrastructure

Gina Bocra

  • Seat: State and Local Government Agency Leader
  • Affiliation: New York City Department of Design and Construction

Stephen Bushnell

  • Seat: Insurance
  • Affiliation: Stephen Bushnell + Associates

Linda Chipperfield

  • Seat: Environmental Nonprofit Advocate
  • Affiliation: Green Seal, Inc.

Amy Costello

  • Seat: Product Manufacturer
  • Affiliation: Armstrong World Services

Fiona Cousins

  • Affiliation: Arup

Brian Dunbar

  • Seat: Educator (Post-Secondary)
  • Affiliation: Colorado State University

Denise Grabowski

  • Seat: Urban/Regional Planner
  • Affiliation: Symbioscity

Daniele Horton

  • Seat: Facility Management and Operations
  • Affiliation: Verdani Partners

Mark James

  • Seat: Sustainable Community Leader
  • Affiliation: Urban Green LLC

Sara Neff

  • Seat: Developer/Real Estate Services
  • Affiliation: Kilroy Realty Corporation

Christopher Schaffner

  • Seat: Sustainable Practice Leader: Engineer
  • Affiliation: The Green Engineer, LLC

Kevin Stack

  • Seat: Residential Construction Leader
  • Affiliation: Northeast Natural Homes

Brandon Tinianov

  • Seat: Business to Consumer Leader
  • Affiliation: View Inc.

Joe Van Belleghem

  • Seat: Real Estate Finance and Capital Markets
  • Affiliation: Lend Lease

Karen Weigert

  • Seat: Climate and Clean Energy Transition Leader
  • Affiliation: Northwestern University

Download Advisory Council Charter

Awards and Grants

The work you do is cause for celebration.

USGBC presents national awards to honor individuals and organizations whose work is helping expand sustainability in the building and construction marketplace. Recipients represent a range of experiences and industries but possess a shared attribute: a passion for better building and its rewards for our future. Learn more.

USGBC Grants: Supporting those who help push green building forward

Everyone deserves access to housing that’s healthy, affordable and accessible to jobs and amenities. Bank of America and USGBC are helping to make it happen through the Affordable Green Neighborhoods Grant Program. Learn more.


LEED didn’t become the leading international benchmark for green building by chance.

Our rating systems are supported by USGBC staff and volunteers who serve on committees and advisory groups.

They’re constantly reevaluating LEED to ensure it remains robust and efficient. And they’re working to develop educational materials about sustainable building and to support USGBC, while other green building councils around the world are helping keep LEED leaning forward as well.