Wes Sullens

California recognized leaders in the effort to help build a safer and more sustainable built environment.

The Green Hard Hat Awards are our annual opportunity to say “thank you” to partners in our statewide California green building advocacy work. We’re proud to recognize leaders in our important collective efforts to help build a safer and more sustainable built environment for all.

This summer at the LEED Platinum and Living Building-certified Arch Nexus office in Sacramento, we gave our coveted Green Hard Hats to an impressive lineup of awardees who, once again, showcased California as the leader in many world-leading green building and climate initiatives:

Mary Nichols, Chair, California Air Resources Board

Nichols is undeniably one of the most important people in California—and indeed the world—when it comes to driving solutions on public health and the environment. As Chair of the California Air Resources Board since 2007 (and also between 1979 and 1983), Nichols has had tremendous impact on showing the world what is possible when states and major economies like California take initiative and use common-sense solutions to tackle tough environmental challenges. With her leadership implementing the Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32) and the state’s cap-and-trade program, Nichols and her impressive staff continue to change our state for the better.

Darrell Steinberg, Mayor, City of Sacramento

Mayor Steinberg has been a leader on sustainability for many years, championing climate and environmental policy throughout his career. Mayor Steinberg was formerly the Senate President (where he was the first Sacramentan to serve as President of the Senate in over 125 years), and has been serving the Sacramento community for over 20 years. He has made a mark advocating for homeless services and good green housing in the community. He authored legislation to expedite the legal process for large-scale environmentally sustainable projects (the Jobs and Economic Improvement Through Environmental Leadership Act of 2011, AB 900).

Dan Carol, Senior Advisor, Infrastructure and Energy, Office of Governor Jerry Brown

Dan Carol is a sustainability champion in Gov. Brown’s office who continuously pushes for green building and creative finance in all things infrastructure, energy and sustainability. Carol has an impressive record of leadership, including being a member of the Clinton Global Initiative and working as senior campaign advisor for the Clinton-Gore 1992 and Obama-Biden 2008 campaigns. Carol is Gov. Brown’s Washington, D.C., liaison, a role in which he has been able to significantly extend the reach of Gov. Brown’s leadership efforts on climate and other environmental initiatives to national partners and the federal government.

Dave Walls, Executive Director, Sustainability Programs, International Code Council

Dave Walls has been called the “Godfather of CALGreen,” a title he wears very reluctantly. Back in 2006, then-Gov. Schwarzenegger tasked the state’s Building Standards Commission to come up with a green building code that could be mandatory statewide. Walls led the effort to develop what would become the first statewide green code in the nation: the California Green Building Standards Code, a.k.a. CALGreen. USGBC is proud to recognize California’s leadership with a set of California-LEED ACPs that only were possible because of the dedication and determination of Dave Walls in bringing about the green code for California.

Rob Bonta, Assemblymember

Assemblymember Rob Bonta (18th District) has an impressive history of advocating to end homelessness, protect civil rights and lead on environmental topics. Last year, Bonta led the passage of The Buy Clean California Act (AB 262), the first-of-its-kind state law to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by requiring the state to purchase building products from cleaner manufacturers. The Buy Clean California Act aligns the state’s purchasing power and environmental values to help drive change. It is consistent with the direction that USGBC has taken on the LEED rating system that also seeks to reward products that lower their environmental impacts in production and manufacturing. In fact, USGBC Los Angeles is helping implement the program.

This year’s awards were an honor to attend, and we look forward to many more great things to recognize in California next year.

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