The U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) annual Federal Summit convened on May 14 at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C., to exchange ideas on how to best meet the goals of increased sustainability in existing buildings and communities to significantly impact the environment and the economy. Topics of interest at the Summit included global climate change, leveraging the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to achieve environmental goals, implementing technical solutions to meet the energy efficiency goals set out in the Energy Independence and Security Act, and updates on the launch of LEED® Version 3, and other USGBC activities.
“Green building and retrofitting is at the top of the legislative agenda, and now is the time to work together toward the common goals of advancing green building and improving our nation’s economy,” says Rick Fedrizzi, president, chief executive officer, and founding chair at USGBC. “The Federal Summit provides a unique opportunity to discuss critical issues and the leadership role of the federal government in mitigating climate change.”
Included in the role of the federal government in nationwide environmental initiatives is serving as an example in green building; the government currently owns 139 certified and 1,560 registered green building projects, totaling over 263 million square feet. Additionally, 12 federal agencies use the LEED Rating System in benchmarking sustainability practices in their facilities.
The economy also played a crucial role in the 2009 Federal Summit, as a national commitment to green building has the potential to generate 2.5 million American jobs. Additionally, U.S. buildings are responsible for 39 percent of carbon dioxide emissions, 40 percent of energy consumption, 13 percent of water consumption, and 15 percent of GDP per year, making green building a significant source of both environmental and economic opportunity.
This year’s Federal Summit also served as the launch of USGBC’s new Federal Green Building Leadership Award program.
For more information about the Federal Summit, please visit www.usgbc.org/federalsummit.