Heather Goetsch

Vote by Fri., September 28 for the volunteer project you find most compelling.

Thanks in part to the dedicated volunteers who contribute to the green building movement each year, USGBC continues to advance a healthier, more sustainable and more prosperous built environment in communities across the globe. The Malcolm Lewis Volunteer IMPACT! Award recognizes a high-impact, volunteer-driven project or initiative. Learn more about this award.

The project receiving the most votes by 12 p.m. EDT on Fri., September 28 will be formally recognized at the 2018 Greenbuild Leadership Awards Reception.

Please contact Heather Goetsch with any questions.

Nominee #1: Ramboland

The Ramboland project is a universal design, extreme net-positive, demonstration home in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, paving the way for inclusive hyper-green communities.

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Ron Rambo of Lancaster was born with cerebral palsy and has been using a wheelchair for most of his adult life. As a low-income renter with restricted mobility, Rambo knows the challenges of finding adequate housing that grants him full accessibility and independence. When his mother offered him the lot next to hers on which to build a suitable home, Rambo reached out to Max Zahniser, the project facilitator, and an all-star pro bono design team was assembled. Together, they envision a new path forward for healthy living through accessible and sustainable design.

Rambo’s new home is the first phase of a larger exploration of regenerative development called Ramboland. This revolutionary project will provide universal access to accommodate people with any level of mobility, produce eight times more energy than it uses and include on-site food production and urban air cleansing stormwater techniques, among many other innovations.

The second phase of the project will be the expansion of these surplus generating systems’ development to encompass the whole city block where Rambo’s house is located, enrolling the community in co-op ownership of those surpluses. With the support of the city government and several universities, the team aspires to reimagine how to cyclically redevelop increasingly resilient systems in neighborhoods and communities for benefit of all citizens.

@TheRamboHouse will be a living laboratory, demonstrating that cities can heal our ecosystems while supporting the lifestyles of people with disabilities in a far better and less expensive fashion than we do today.

Nominee #2: The Wiser Justice Program

The Wiser Justice Program of Guilford College in Greensboro, North Carolina, has great success, with an 87 percent pass rate on the LEED Green Associate exam.

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The Wiser Justice Program brings Guilford College instructors to incarcerated women and men who provide courses in the fields of business, English, criminal justice, sociology, psychology and conflict resolution. The five-semester program provides students with an opportunity to receive 30 college credits and to take a preparatory course for the LEED Green Associate certification exam. These credits are transferable to most schools that offer associate and bachelor’s degrees. Upon completion, the students can sit for the LEED Green Associate exam.

The past four classes of graduates have had astounding success at passing the exam, accomplishing an 87 percent passing rate. More important, each new LEED Green Associate gains valuable knowledge in the field of sustainable design that they can use in the current facilities they reside in, as well as when they are released.

Nominee #3: Denver Green Roof Street Team

View the slideshare.

Frustrated by the lack of action from the federal government regarding climate change, Brandon Rietheimer was searching for something that he could do to make a difference in his community. Witnessing the rapid development in the city of Denver, Colorado, he came to the conclusion that mitigating the impact through green infrastructure was the best solution. Although Rietheimer had little to no experience in campaign management, he worked tirelessly during his free time (when he wasn’t working full-time in a restaurant) to get the initiative written and to gather a base of dedicated volunteers.

Initiative I-300 fought for a mandate that requires newly constructed commercial buildings (over four stories tall and over 25,000 square feet) to cover a portion of their roof space with either a rooftop garden, solar PV panels or a combination of the two.The volunteers for the Denver Green Roof Initiative decided to be involved because they were passionate that they could change the path of Denver and create a more beautiful, livable and sustainable city.

Unlike most ballot initiatives, the Denver Green Roof Initiative had no funding to hire paid petitioners. Yet, as one of the volunteers pointed out, “We won because our volunteers were deeply passionate. We weren’t in it for the money!” The team of 60 volunteers took on many different roles to help the initiative succeed. Most of the volunteers traveled around the city, tirelessly explaining the mandate to over 8,000 Denver residents and collecting handwritten signatures. Others organized meetings at the town hall, raised funds, conducted phone banking, made yard signs, filmed videos, distributed flyers and organized rallies.

Despite being outspent 12 to 1 by the opponents of the initiative, I-300 passed with more than 54 percent of Denver voters voting in favor of the initiative. This was the first citizen-led initiative to succeed without corporate funding in the city’s history. This group’s dedication will transform Denver for the decades to come, helping to reduce the urban heat island effect, increase renewable energy production and provide urban agricultural opportunities for Denver residents.

Nominee #4: Ashley Park K-8 Green Wall

Installing a Living Green Wall in Ashley Park K–8 of Charlotte, North Carolina, school will provide benefits to students and faculty for years to come.

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2017 Rob Eggars Memorial Scholarship winner Samuel Snodgrass decided that for his Green Apple Day of Service project, he would use the $1,000 grant money to install a living green wall in an underprivileged school in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Since the project's inception, a diverse group of dedicated volunteers have emerged, and the project scope has grown to include an educational seminar about a "Healthy Indoor Environment." Jarvis Lamb, a 5th grade teacher at Ashley Park K–8, has committed to using the green wall for an annual class project, in which students will learn about and illustrate the benefits of nature within the built environment.

Vote for the IMPACT! Award

Voting is unlimited until Fri., September 28, at 12 p.m. EDT. Don’t see the survey below? Vote online.

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