02 Nov Permanence
CEO and founding chair
U.S. Green Building Council
In our world, there is very little that is permanent. And as the world around me inevitably changes, I’ve discovered that the single thing that tends to last is the power of an idea.
That doesn’t mean an idea is static. Rather, we constantly tinker with the environment in which it sits so that we can nurture it to full flower. And there is no better example of this than all the changes we’re undergoing at USGBC.
Across the globe, LEED is booming. We’ve registered and certified 14 billion square feet in more than 150 countries precisely because we’ve kept evolving the rating system to take advantage of the changes in process and products that the green building movement has inspired.
And that’s led to changes in the tools we have deployed. Few things were more analog than the three-ring binders that held the documentation of the first LEED projects. Now we have not only a richly functional LEED Online project management platform, but we also have the LEED Dynamic Plaque that can serve as a performance management tool to help building owners and managers continuously improve a building’s performance.
It’s also become clear that the world now needs to aggregate building performance across entire portfolios and encompass other aspects such as landscape and human wellness and comfort. So we’ve significantly expanded GBCI’s portfolio to now include credentialing and certification for SITES and WELL, and we’ve added data and financial reporting tools such as GBIG and GRESB, bringing in new audiences and broadening our reach.
This has been the pivot that has caused us to think of ourselves more as the NGO version of a B-Corp than a traditional nonprofit, because we’re constantly changing and adding to the ways we fund our work— whether it’s green schools, green affordable housing, or a LEED Platinum children’s center in Haiti. At the same time, we’re partnering with the business community in ways that are expanding their top lines and improving their bottom lines, permanently shifting the sustainability conversation from the pages of the CSR report to the 10K of annual reports.
We’re also evolving our organizational structure. We’ve just completed the process of changing our governance by seating our first-ever Advisory Council, made up of members of our 2015 Board of Directors, and electing a new board slate whose experience and expertise better reflect the needs of the far-reaching organization we are becoming. We’re also changing how our army of volunteers is structured as we complete the evolution of our chapter network and deploy ADVANCE.
And I’m part of the change, too, as I announced my intention to step down as CEO of USGBC and GBCI at the end of 2016. I’ll spend much of next year working closely with Mahesh Ramanujam, who will take over as CEO of USGBC and GBCI in January of 2017, as well as with the amazing USGBC and GBCI teams all over the globe.
All of these changes are intentional, undertaken to help us evolve and adapt, so we can grow and thrive. Because what will never change is our commitment to the powerful idea on which our mission is founded: green buildings and communities for everyone within this generation.