The individuals at the core of USGBC’s chapter network represent the tremendous potential of a volunteer-driven organization. To leverage the intellectual capital that this community offers, an organization must be horizontally integrated, open and transparent, and it must also encourage the expression of creativity. The USGBC regions were created to help support and grow these fundamental concepts.
The West Region is geographically very large, spanning from the border of Canada to the border of Mexico. It is composed of eight states: Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico. The Chihuahuan Desert Chapter, located in the western most area of Texas, recently left the West Region because the organization aligned more strategically with the South Central Region.
USGBC-Idaho recently added a program manager to its staff after being awarded a grant from the national organization, and the chapter will soon add interns for special projects and online communications to its growing staff. In June, the chapter participated in the annual Idaho Energy and Green Building Conference as a track of the general Association of Idaho Cities annual conference. The executive director also hosts “Building a Greener Idaho," a weekly show on Boise Radio dedicated to covering sustainable design, planning and building in the state.
USGBC-Colorado continues to be the largest and most active chapter in the West Region, with staff to support its efforts. On Nov. 8, Colorado will host acclaimed TED speaker Stephen Ritz at the 2013 Green Schools Summit.
USGBC-Wyoming and USGBC-Montana are the newest chapters to become members of the West Region. Montana held its first annual summit in May and has scheduled the next summit to be held in Big Sky on Jan. 24, 2014. Wyoming continues to grow and expand its presence under strong leadership. USGBC-New Mexico is offering education and events like commercial green building tours, training workshops and luncheon programs, most recently featuring the 14th annual GreenBuilt Tour, highlighting sustainable building practices through a tour of 18 green homes.
USGBC-Nevada recently engaged its state legislators and elected officials to advance legislative solutions that would equip Nevada businesses with the opportunity to invigorate the state's building and construction economy, all while reducing operating expenses.
In November, USGBC-Arizona’s three chapter branches will get together at the USGBC Arizona Heavy Medals award ceremony to celebrate their state’s LEED accomplishments. The mayor of Phoenix, Greg Stanton, is scheduled to speak.
In spite of an economy that has impacted the stability of many organizations, member chapters of the West Region have reached out to each other, sharing resources that have enabled continued growth. Idaho, Montana and Wyoming created the North Rockies Coalition during the time when the Montana and Wyoming chapters were being formed. They continue to exchange knowledge and best practices and support one another's efforts to implement the mission and goals of the green building movement.
As all of the chapters grow and mature, the West Region will continue to evolve and define its role within USGBC. Alongside some recent policy victories, these state-by-state market reports highlight our movement’s growing list of accomplishments in the region. With your involvement and support, we’ll have even more to report next year!