Greening NYC A Look at the Urban Green Council

 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?”  

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