United We Stand: Leading the Way to a Sustainable Future

Sustainable future America
(We are reposting this Open Letter from the US Green Building Council Chief Excecutive Officer) 

The green building industry reaches across the economy and around the globe—and together, we will transform the way buildings and communities are designed, built and operated.

Yesterday’s election concluded a long campaign and national discourse about which direction our country should go for the next four years. The American people spoke, and regardless of which candidate you supported, now is the time to find critical areas of common ground where we can all work together. It is one of the principles of our democracy, and our obligation as people who care deeply about building a sustainable and healthy future for us all.

USGBC’s commitment to creating a more sustainable future moves forward with a renewed commitment to finding common ground, growing our community of members and volunteers and proving the value proposition of the work that we do and the impact that our collective mission has on the world.
Our significant role in supporting the mitigation of climate change through green buildings while continuing to showcase a clear path to job creation and economic prosperity does not change. In fact, we will be more bold in articulating our solutions for mitigating many of the challenges our environment and our communities are facing today. We will dig deeper, work harder and inclusively transform the marketplace while making sure no community, no place and no one is left behind.

From COP22, which is happening as I write this, to our work at the federal, state and local levels of government, to our investments in LEED and our support for green building councils around the globe, USGBC and our mission to transform the built environment will continue and endure.
In the U.S., buildings account for 40 percent of our energy use, 71 percent of our electricity use and 40 percent of our climate emissions. These numbers signify the opportunity for the green building community to make a real impact on people, planet and profit. Our work has never been more relevant.

For more than 20 years, USGBC has been showing the world that better buildings are a critical solution for our economic, energy and climate challenges. The nearly 90,000 commercial buildings and 120,000 residential projects participating in LEED across the country are saving energy and water, improving indoor air quality, saving businesses and homeowners money, working toward energy independence and helping communities create jobs—every day.
The green building industry already plays a significant role in the U.S. construction sector, and it is outpacing conventional construction in its growth. It contributes more than $134.3 billion in labor income to working Americans.

By 2018, green construction will account for more than 3.3 million U.S. jobs—more than one-third of the entire U.S. construction sector—while generating $190.3 billion in labor earnings. There are more than 200,000 LEED-certified professionals around the world, and we have more than 12,000 member companies. The economic impact underscores the business case for green buildings, which have been shown to increase employee productivity in measurable ways that boost companies’ bottom lines.

We know the impact of a green building goes far beyond the four walls of the structure. Green buildings provide a sense of community, culture, home, innovation and inspiration. They represent the places where we live, work, learn and play. They promote human health, wellness and productivity.
Green buildings are not, and have never been, a partisan issue. They are about people from all walks of life and all political persuasions. As we look to 2017, the demand for green buildings will continue to grow, and USGBC is poised to meet this demand.

The influence of our industry will reach across the economy and around the globe—and together, we will push forward with USGBC’s mission 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.

As I officially take the helm as USGBC’s president and CEO next week, I can assure you, our plan does not change; we will continue to “LEED on.”

Mahesh Ramanujam
Chief Operating Officer, U.S. Green Building Council 
Green Business Certification Inc.