08 Aug From USGBC: Exploring the benefits of green buildings near and far
VP, Technical Solutions, USGBC
With summer in full swing, it’s time to explore. Sometimes exploration takes us far from home, into the mountains or to the ocean. A sense of adventure and curiosity can take us to a new city or call us back to a place we’ve already been for a second look. Some of the best adventures can take place in our own backyards, or between the covers of a magazine. In this issue of USGBC+, we are excited to take you on a journey through both familiar and uncharted territory.
Over the past several months, in my capacity as technical solutions lead for USGBC, I have joined our president and CEO, Mahesh Ramanujam, on a whirlwind tour of the U.S., delivering LEED v4.1 education across the country. We have presented more than a dozen workshops on the rating system, and we’ve met and engaged with more than 250 LEED users. As I’ve traveled from state to state, I’ve been reminded of the many destinations and attractions that have embraced LEED over the years, several of which are profiled in our feature article.
From zoos and aquariums, to theatres and museums, LEED works for every space type, improving the environmental performance and human experience of every project. LEED-certified attractions are everywhere. Some are more famous than others, but all are inspiring. Now is as good a time as any to explore the LEED projects in your own neighborhood, or to add a few stops to your next trip.
Apart from travel, summer is a time for growth and preparation, two themes I see in our articles on California and Hawaii. Both states face unique challenges because of their geography and climate, but each state is embracing innovative solutions to ensure the health, safety, and prosperity of their populations for generations to come.
As a native of California, witnessing the devastation the wildfires have brought to my home state has been heartbreaking. As California’s wildfire season stretches to encompass most of the calendar year, the need for places of refuge with excellent indoor air quality will only increase. LEED buildings can offer sanctuary.
Beyond being temporary places of respite, LEED buildings can also be the place we come home to at the end of a journey. My home is LEED Certified, as is my neighborhood, and knowing this gives me confidence that where I choose to live is a part of the solution to so many of our environmental and societal problems.
All of this underscores something we know to be true: Green buildings are all about people. They can keep us safe and healthy in the face of poor conditions, even as they work to improve our natural environment. They can play host to activities and attractions that delight and educate us, even as they reduce our footprint. They can be our own personal retreat from the world—our home and our platform for the betterment of our community.
No matter where you live or where you roam in the summer months, there is almost certainly something interesting going on with green building nearby. In the spirit of summer, may this issue of USGBC+ inspire you to explore, grow, and prepare for great things ahead.