By Scott Kriner, Green Metal Consulting
The USGBC’s LEED version 4 continues to grow in North America as well as across the globe. According to Mahesh Ramanujam, the new President and CEO of USGBC and GBCI, LEED is growing worldwide with over 36,000 certified commercial projects. That represents over 5 billion square feet of certified space. He also states that every day more than 1.85 million square feet of space certifies LEED. The program is in use in more than 160 countries and territories around the world.
The annual GREENBUILD conference and expo has become a global brand. Similar events and shows have taken place in Latin America, Europe, China, India, and in the Middle East.
Closer to home, Mahesh is creating more visibility about LEED and the USGBC. Recently an open letter from the President & CEO, and an advertisement for LEED, appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and the New York Post. Mahesh’s challenge to the readers was “we must act out of hope, and work every day for our future. We must keep building – we must keep going.”
To that end, Mahesh has suggested a new mantra for the USGBC – “Partnership is the new Leadership”.
There is activity that suggests the mantra is more than just a phrase. USGBC has moved away from their confrontational approach to manufacturers. Partnerships have recently been formed with industry organizations that would never have been conceivable in the past.
Another indication of USGBC’s dedication to partnerships is the creation of LEED User Groups. Several of these User Groups have already been established. One such LEED User Group is aimed at commercial contractors. That User Group includes 19 of the major commercial contractors, including Turner Construction Company, to create a forum to share best practices, address project management, and product issues, discuss changes in LEED guidelines and to provide feedback to USGBC.
Other existing User Groups include Industrial Facilities, Retail and Restaurants, Hospitality and Venues, and Commercial Real Estate. The next LEED User Group will be focused on Higher Education. Today 137 industry leaders from 84 companies are involved in these User Groups.
In the early days of LEED and Greenbuild, there were some who predicted that the green movement would not last too long. And yet, with the new leadership at USGBC there is optimism that with LEED (future versions), industry partnerships and engagement of User Groups the efforts appear to be paying dividends.
To quote Mark Twain – “The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated”. LEED officials may well be saying the same thing.