USGBC building

About USGBC

Better buildings are our legacy

We're committed to transforming how our buildings are designed, constructed and operated through LEED.

Our vision at the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is that buildings and communities will regenerate and sustain the health and vitality of all life within a generation. Our mission is to transform the way buildings and communities are designed, built and operated, enabling an environmentally and socially responsible, healthy, and prosperous environment that improves the quality of life. Through our community network, continuous collaboration with industry experts, market research publications and LEED professional credentials, our global staff is working every day to help advance spaces that are brighter and healthier for us to live, work and play in.

Our goal is green building for everyone

Rick Fedrizzi, David Gottfried and Mike Italiano established USGBC in 1993 with a mission to promote sustainability-focused practices in the building industry. Representatives from around 60 firms and several nonprofits gathered that April in the American Institute of Architects’ boardroom for the founding meeting.

It was then that ideas were shared for an open and balanced coalition spanning the entire building industry and for a green building rating system, which would later become LEED. Since the rating system’s unveiling in 2000, it has become an international standard for environmentally sound buildings, certifying hundreds of thousands of square feet per day. Read our 2014 Annual Report and view the 2017-19 Strategic Plan.

LEED is an achievement in better building

LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a green certification program for building design, construction, operations and maintenance.

How LEED works

LEED is based on prerequisites and credits that a project meets to achieve a certification level: Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum. LEED works for all buildings anywhere.

LEED remains market relevant

LEED regularly undergoes evaluations, whether through clarification of specific credit’s language, an adaptation to an existing rating system, or a comprehensive update to its rating systems.

LEED is flexible

We've developed alternative compliance paths to LEED credits, providing more options to address unique circumstances and accommodate advancements in science and technology.

Learn more about LEED

Advocating for a greener future

greener prosperous future

Promoting a greener, more resilient & prosperous future.
Backed by the strength of tools, community and research, we use direct advocacy, strategic partnerships, campaigns and engagement to drive development of green building standards, programs and regulations.


green building research

Explore our green building research & data.
Learn more about green building-related and LEED-specific policies across the U.S. in the USGBC Public Policy Library. The library is an interactive platform that shares details on policies at the federal, state and local levels that incentivize, require or otherwise promote green building measures — including LEED. See also: Advocacy Resources.


advocacy priorities

Our advocacy priorities.
Green building is projected to see positive growth for years to come, with its influence reaching across the U.S. economy, generating significant environmental and social benefits. Review the 2015 Green Building Economic Impact Study to learn more. Explore our current advocacy priorities:

Government leadership by example

Federal, state and local governments recognize the importance of leading by example in energy and green building policy. Improving resource efficiency represents an enormous opportunity to save taxpayer money, save energy and water, and drive investment and jobs. At every level, from coast to coast, we see examples of pioneering policies and building practices that benefit the broader building industry.

Private sector market transformation

Governments help support robust private sector green building activity with policies to incentivize building green and removing unnecessary barriers. At USGBC, we promote policies of all types that foster market transformation, including structural incentives like density and height bonuses and expedited or no-cost permitting, information mechanisms like benchmarking, and financial incentives like tax credits, grants and low interest loans.

Raising the bar on codes and regulations

Building codes and regulations play an integral role in fostering the progress necessary to realize far-reaching and truly sustainable buildings and communities. States and cities have critical roles in improving baseline-building requirements, and in establishing policies that promote best-in-class building strategies and practices. We work to support this transformation and to help align baseline building code with above-code green building certification using LEED, to facilitate seamless improvement.

Community-wide sustainability

Sustainable communities look beyond a single building and holistically use smart design and construction and operation practices to enhance community connectivity and wellness and reduce environmental impacts, from effects on local waterways to contributions to global warming. Public policy supporting sustainable communities can also unlock economic growth and provide important opportunities to build in-demand skills in the construction workforce. Through our work with Resilient Communities for America and other partnerships, we support planning, design, and building strategies that help communities build better, more resilient futures.


Staff & industry leaders advance LEED

Executive staff

Our in-house experts and leadership staff are vital to ensuring LEED's success today and tomorrow.

View executive staff

Mahesh Ramanujam, President and CEO

Strategic management

  • Taryn Holowka, Senior Vice President
  • Melissa Baker, Senior Vice President
  • Sarah Alexander, Senior Vice President
  • Kate Hurst, Senior Vice President

Enterprise operations

Market transformation & development

Strategic partnerships & growth


Board of Directors

The USGBC Board of Directors is comprised of seven elected directors, one appointed director and the CEO, who serves as ex-officio and is a non-voting member. They meet in person several times a year and regularly by teleconference. To contact the board, email board@usgbc.org. View the latest board meeting minutes.

View members

Mike McNally, Chair; McNally Green, and retired President and CEO, Skanska USA

Bob Fox, Vice Chair; Partner, COOKFox Architects and Terrapin Bright Green

Chrissa Pagitsas, Secretary-Treasurer; Director, Multifamily Green Initiative, Fannie Mae

Paul Anastas; Professor, and Director, Center for Green Chemistry and Green Engineering, Yale University

Janine Benyus; Co-founder, Biomimicry 3.8 and The Biomimicry Institute

Aaron Bernstein; Associate Director, Center for Health and the Global Environment, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Bruce Oreck; Executive in Residence, Aalto University and former U.S. Ambassador to Finland

Mahesh Ramanujam, Ex-officio; President and CEO, U.S. Green Building Council

Emma Stewart; Chief Business Development Officer, Impact Infrastructure

Review Board Minutes View Board Committees

Download USGBC Bylaws


Advisory Council

The USGBC Advisory Council provides industry leadership and experience, recommending policy and initiatives to the board. Members connect with key stakeholder groups across the sustainability movement and identify emerging opportunities and needs.

They're employed by member companies and appointed by the Board, following an open nomination process, to represent a specific perspective. To contact the council, email board@usgbc.org.

View members

Emma Stewart; Seat: Technology, 2017 Chair; Affiliation: Impact Infrastructure

Gina Bocra; Seat: State and Local Government Agency Leader; Affiliation: New York City Department of Design and Construction

Stephen Bushnell; Seat: Insurance; Affiliation: Stephen Bushnell + Associates

Linda Chipperfield; Seat: Environmental Nonprofit Advocate; Affiliation: Green Seal, Inc.

Amy Costello; Seat: Product Manufacturer; Affiliation: Armstrong World Services

Fiona Cousins; Affiliation: Arup

Brian Dunbar; Seat: Educator (Post-Secondary); Affiliation: Colorado State University

Denise Grabowski; Seat: Urban/Regional Planner; Affiliation: Symbioscity

Daniele Horton; Seat: Facility Management and Operations; Affiliation: Verdani Partners

Mark James; Seat: Sustainable Community Leader; Affiliation: Urban Green LLC

Sara Neff; Seat: Developer/Real Estate Services; Affiliation: Kilroy Realty Corporation

Christopher Schaffner; Seat: Sustainable Practice Leader: Engineer; Affiliation: The Green Engineer, LLC

Kevin Stack; Seat: Residential Construction Leader; Affiliation: Northeast Natural Homes

Brandon Tinianov; Seat: Business to Consumer Leader; Affiliation: View Inc.

Joe Van Belleghem; Seat: Real Estate Finance and Capital Markets; Affiliation: Lend Lease

Karen Weigert; Seat: Climate and Clean Energy Transition Leader; Affiliation: Northwestern University

Download Advisory Council Charter


The work you do is cause for celebration

Awards

USGBC awards recognize individuals and companies who's work is helping expand sustainability in the building market. Learn more.

Grants

The Affordable Green Neighborhoods Grant Program by Bank of America and USGBC works to provide housing that's healthy, affordable and accessible for jobs and amenities. Learn more.

Committees & advisory groups are key to LEED'S success

USGBC committees and advisory groups are constantly reevaluating LEED to ensure it remains robust and efficient. And they’re working to develop educational materials about sustainable building and to support USGBC, while other green building councils around the world are helping keep LEED leaning forward as well.