Brenden McEneaney

See the latest in California green building policy and advocacy news.

‘Tis the season for family, community, giving thanks and giving back. We’re thankful for the support from so many outstanding members, partners and volunteers helping to move green building forward in California. We hope you will continue giving the gift of your time, expertise—and most important, your voice—as we advocate for a future full of abundance, sustainability and resilience.

To Fiji and back

We’re also thankful for California’s continued leadership on climate action at the recent COP 23 United Nations climate conference in Bonn, Germany, spearheaded by Governor Jerry Brown and a delegation from the state legislature. In advance of the climate conference, Gov. Brown was named Special Advisor for states and regions, boosting California’s role at the conference (hosted by Fiji, but located in Bonn).

While in Germany, a committee of the UN Environment Programme presented California with its Climate and Clean Air Award for the “most comprehensive and strongest set of targets for reducing short-lived climate pollutant emissions into state law.” (Read more about USGBC’s work at the UN climate talks and about the America's Pledge report and check out the #CAinBonn hashtag on Twitter.)

Greenbuild season

Many of us had the chance to recharge our batteries at Greenbuild in Boston a few weeks ago—another very green conference and full of spotlights on California people and projects. Here are a few items of USGBC news:

  • LEED v4.1: USGBC announced the upcoming release of LEED v4.1—a critical step in the evolution of the rating system, building on lessons learned and impact areas highlighted in LEED v4 and focused on agility and implementation.
  • CALGreen Alignment: As announced earlier this year, a significant number of LEED measures in California are now pre-approved for new commercial projects built to California code. Project teams interested in signing up for the California recognition in LEED can do so by visiting Code compliance documentation for qualifying projects will satisfy all LEED v4 BD+C prerequisites and earn up to six points. This is the culmination of a partnership with many USGBC volunteers, discussed in a 2015 report on barriers and opportunities for green codes in California.
  • Leadership Awards: A California team led by building professionals and students in the San Francisco Bay Area was among the 2017 leadership awards recipients. Its partnership with the South African education nonprofit Bottomup yielded a green educational facility in Cape Town, South Africa that won the Malcolm Lewis Impact Award. Read more about the Parkwood Technology Centre.
  • Resilience: Resilience was a big topic of discussion at the conference, from President Clinton’s remarks about USGBC’s Project Haiti to the announcement of GBCI’s adoption of the RELi design standard. Former USGBC San Diego Chapter board chair Doug Kot also participated in a roundtable for state and local government officials on the role of state governments in resilience planning and sustainable recovery, led by USGBC’s Jeremy Sigmon and the Center for Green Schools. For more on resilience, check out Education @USGBC’s new learning pathway, The Road to Resilience.
  • Honoring Bill Worthen. The green building world lost one of our brilliant champions and family members earlier this year with the passing of California’s own Bill Worthen. Bill was honored at the Leadership Awards ceremony and at various volunteer appreciation events throughout Greenbuild. Bill’s legacy lives on through the work of the William J. Worthen Foundation, which is currently soliciting feedback on the Non-Potable Water Reuse Practice Guide.

Greenbuild 2018 is headed to Chicago. Interested in presenting or being involved? The call for session proposals is open through January 5.

At the state capitol, dialogue continues about how best to solve the state’s ongoing housing crisis. Discussions around grid modernization abound, especially as SB 100 is expected to be reintroduced in early January.

On Capitol Hill, despite ongoing advocacy efforts of USGBC and our members, Congress continues to consider ways to compromise Energy Star. We’re also watching how Washington State tells a cautionary tale about how their environmental policy act is actually preventing sustainable urban development.