The concept of 'greening' has become so firmly entrenched in our national discourse over the last few years, it's hard to imagine a time when recycling, clean energy, and reducing our carbon footprint were novel ideas with just a few voices championing their development. But that's exactly what the U.S. Green Buildings Council (USGBC) has been doing since the organization’s founding in 1993.
This non-profit organization, based in Washington, D.C., emphasizes environmentally friendly construction and design through education, research and advocacy. The USGBC has an ambitious goal, spelled out in its mission statement: Green buildings for everyone within a generation. According to the group's website, the USGBC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization “Committed to a prosperous and sustainable future for our nation through cost-efficient and energy-saving green buildings. USGBC works toward its mission of market transformation through its LEED green building certification program, robust educational offerings, a nationwide network of chapters and affiliates, the annual Greenbuild International Conference & Expo, and advocacy in support of public policy that encourages and enables green buildings and communities.”
“Our whole mission is in market transition,” says Judith Webb, a communications strategist for the USGBC. “We will run ourselves out of business because eventually, every building will be green.”
Why Go Green?
In a vertical city like New York, with the majority of people’s time spent indoors, a clean, healthy indoor environment is essential to everyone’s well-being.
“Green buildings are healthier places,” says Webb. “We want to create human habitats that are non-toxic, with clean lighting, good air and acoustics, and so on. The building type doesn’t matter, [because] we spend 90 percent of our time indoors. Shouldn’t we do everything we can to make those spaces as healthy as they can be?”