USGBC California Unites Green Building Industry

USGBC California, a newly launched independent nonprofit, aims to unify regional green building communities across the state.
Reading Time: 3 minutes

USGBC California, a newly launched independent nonprofit, aims to unify regional green building communities across the state. Photo by Paul Hanaoka on Unsplash

Reading Time: 3 minutes

USGBC California, a newly launched independent nonprofit, aims to unify regional green building communities across the state.

In a major step towards accelerating sustainable practices in the built environment, regional green building communities across California have united under a new statewide nonprofit organization – USGBC California. This independent entity will serve as a centralized platform to engage communities, develop workforce skills, provide education resources, and amplify advocacy efforts around environmental priorities.

The organization brings together six longstanding regional chapters originally founded in collaboration with the U.S. Green Building Council, including those serving San Diego, Orange County, Los Angeles, the Central Coast, Northern California, and the Redwood Empire area. While maintaining their local leadership through Regional Advisory Boards, these chapters will now operate under the USGBC California umbrella.

See also: Building an Eco-Friendly Construction Company: Where Should You Start?

“California plays a crucial role in advancing sustainability efforts not only within the state but also on a national scale,” said Peter Templeton, President and CEO of the U.S. Green Building Council. “By bringing together aligned chapters, USGBC California is creating a stronger unified voice for promoting environmentally friendly practices in the built environment.”

According to Ben Stapleton, the newly appointed Executive Director of USGBC California, the unification aims to empower anyone to join the green building movement and position the state as a global leader in sustainable design, construction, and operations.

“Buildings account for more than 40% of greenhouse gas emissions in California,” Stapleton stated. “We will strive to accelerate action against climate change on a local level and uplift our collective voice to influence policy, advocacy, and programming.”

The green building industry is dedicated to constructing environmentally sustainable structures that minimize negative impacts across their entire life cycle – from material sourcing and construction to operations and eventual demolition. This holistic approach goes far beyond just the construction phase itself.

Practices include utilizing eco-friendly, sustainable materials with low embodied carbon footprints. Building designs prioritize energy and water efficiency through elements like optimized insulation, natural lighting, and low-flow fixtures. Renewable energy sources like solar are frequently integrated as well.

Occupant health is also a core focus for green buildings. Strategies like using low-VOC materials, adequate ventilation systems, and maximizing access to natural daylight ensure high indoor air quality and comfortable indoor environmental quality for occupants.

Implementing these green principles yields significant environmental and societal benefits. The construction industry traditionally generates massive amounts of waste, but green building reduces this burden by emphasizing recycled materials, modular components, and thoughtful waste management. The energy and water savings of green buildings pay dividends through lower utility costs and a lighter carbon footprint.

Arguably the greatest impact, however, is the emphasis on occupant well-being. Green buildings create healthier indoor spaces through improved air quality and prioritizing natural lighting – an approach linked to numerous health upsides and even productivity gains for occupants. By considering the full life cycle impacts, the green building industry is actively mitigating climate risks while fostering human health and wellness.

The new USGBC California organization will focus its efforts on key initiatives, including workforce development, environmental justice, building electrification, reducing embodied carbon, and improving climate resilience. Leveraging its statewide digital platform and network, USGBC California plans to scale up successful regional programs like youth education, greening affordable housing, wildfire defense strategies, sustainability training, and more.

The launch has already garnered support from prominent voices in California’s environmental movement. Former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger expressed excitement about USGBC California helping “unite this green movement” to drive clean energy and sustainability projects rapidly.

Mary Nichols, Distinguished Counsel at the UCLA Emmett Institute, highlighted how the unified green building councils can provide “powerful support” for the state’s ambitious climate goals through education, market influence, and policy advocacy.

As the impacts of climate change intensify, USGBC California’s comprehensive approach aims to mobilize a broad coalition of stakeholders – from industry leaders to local residents – in transforming communities across the state towards a more sustainable, resilient, and equitable future.

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