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U.S. Green Building Council

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U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC): The U.S. Green Building Council was founded in 1993 by Rick Fedrizzi, David Gottfried and Mike Italiano, three friends with backgrounds in marketing, development and environmental sciences. Today, USGBC is a community comprising 78 local affiliates, more than 18,000 member companies and organizations, and more than 140,000 LEED Professional Credential holders, leading a diverse constituency of builders and environmentalists, corporations and nonprofit organizations, elected officials and concerned citizens, and teachers and students. The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is a 501 c3 non-profit organization.

Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI): The Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) is an independent, third-party organization established in 2008 to administer project certifications and professional credentials and certificates within the framework of the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) Green Building Rating Systems™. GBCI offers validation that LEED building certifications and LEED professional credentials have met specific criteria.

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED): Developed in 1998, LEED is a green building certification system, providing third-party verification that a building or community was designed and built using strategies aimed at improving performance across all the metrics that matter most: energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality, and stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts.

LEED Online: LEED Online is the primary resource for managing the LEED documentation process. Through LEED Online, project teams can manage project details, complete documentation requirements for LEED credits and prerequisites, upload supporting files, submit applications for review, receive reviewer feedback, and ultimately earn LEED certification. LEED Online provides a common space where members of a project team can work together to document compliance with the LEED rating system. With the exception of projects registered under LEED for Homes, all projects must be certified using LEED Online.

GREENBUILD: The annual Greenbuild International Conference and Expo was launched in 2002 as the world’s largest conference and expo dedicated to green building.

How it all Works

One can look at USGBC as the mothership, directing her individual warriors she created solely for administering and regulating her doctrine for sustainability. Currently there are two entities subordinate to USGBC that are responsible, in part, for carrying a large portion of the burden – GBCI (the Green Building Certification Institute) and LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design).

Sustainability in this country, and many other countries throughout the world, is benchmarked by Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). LEED defines both the accredited professionals who work in the sustainable field and the degree of sustainability of certified constructed projects. As such, there are two distinct parts to the LEED environment.

One part is the accreditation of professionals who possess knowledge in the field of sustainability. There are three levels, or tiers, of accreditation based on the degree of green knowledge. Tier I is the LEED Green Associate who demonstrates a basic knowledge and skill in practicing green design, construction and development. Tier II is the LEED Accredited Professional with Specialty for those who have an extraordinary depth of knowledge in green building practices and specialization in a specific field. These professionals are designated as LEED AP+, where the + marker indicates the designation for the area of specialization, such as LEED AP BD+C, whereas BD+C indicates Building Design and Construction. The top level, Tier III, is reserved for the LEED AP Fellow, a LEED AP with specialty who has held the LEED AP credential for eight cumulative years and must document a total of at least 10 years of experience in the green building field. Nominees for the LEED Fellow will be nominated by their peers.

The second part of LEED is the certification of sustainable projects, as defined by the various LEED rating systems. Certification is awarded based on the degree of sustainability for the rating system selected by the project team. LEED rating systems cover a broad spectrum of building types, with pilot programs under development for additional rating systems. The LEED New Construction and Major Renovations rating system defines certain types of newly constructed projects, and includes major renovations. LEED for Homes is specific for residential projects, LEED Schools covers schools meeting certain criteria, and so on. For each rating system, there are various levels of certification awarded as determined by the amount of ‘green’ credit points achieved.

The major source controlling these processes is the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI). GBCI performs two basic functions. The first is the development and administration of the accreditation examinations for LEED GA or AP candidates. The second responsibility of GBCI is managing the LEED project certification process.

A Snapshot Summary

USGBC: Develops LEED Green Building Rating Systems; Provides and develops LEED based education and research projects

GBCI: Provides third party LEED professional credentials; Provides third party LEED project certification

LEED: The rating systems, specific to the project type, that establish the parameters for certified sustainable projects

USGBC National Membership: Only organizations, corporations or institutions are eligible for national membership

USGBC Chapter Membership: Only individuals are eligible for chapter membership

Accreditation: People are accredited

Certification: Projects are certified

Products: Products are neither accredited nor certified. USGBC, GBCI and LEED neither promotes nor endorses products

National Association of Home Builders

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National Association of Home Builders (NAHB): The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) is a trade association that helps to promote the policies that make housing a national priority. Established in 1942, NAHB has been serving its members, the housing industry, and the public at large. NAHB’s affiliates include the NAHB Research Center, which develops, tests and evaluates new materials, methods, standards and equipment to improve the technology and the affordability of America’s housing; and the Home Builders Institute, NAHB’s workforce development arm, which develops and administers a wide range of educational and job training programs.

National Association of Home Builders Research Center: The NAHB Research Center is a full-service product commercialization company that strives to make housing more durable and affordable. The NAHB Research Center was created in 1964 as a subsidiary of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).

Benefits of working with the NAHB Research Center:

  • Wholly-owned subsidiary of NAHB, which provides us unique access to the home building industry but allows us to maintain independence and objectivity
  • Top industry resource for reliable, objective information and research on housing construction and development issues
  • Highly skilled and experienced interdisciplinary team of technical experts in all branches of engineering and research
  • Full-service, accredited product testing and certification laboratory

Home Builders Institute (HBI): Home Builders Institute (HBI), established in 1983 as the workforce development arm of the National Association of Home Builders, is dedicated to the advancement and enrichment of education and training programs serving the needs of the building industry. The creation of this non-profit corporation was a result of the merger of NAHB’s Manpower Development and Training Division, Education Department and the Education Foundation. For more than 30 years, HBI has trained skilled workers in residential construction, promoted the industry as a career and helped the NAHB membership address its need for qualified employees.

NAHBGREEN: NAHBGREEN offers builders, remodelers, developers, and other home building professionals a variety of services to learn, incorporate, and market green building.

Specific program components include:

  • ICC-700-2008 National Green Building Standard
    This ANSI approved standard defines green building for single and multifamily homes, residential remodeling projects, and site development projects. It allows flexibility for regionally-appropriate best green practices.
  • National Green Building Conference
    This annual conference features exhibits, education sessions, networking opportunities, tours, and the National Green Building Awards. It is the only national conference targeted to green building for the mainstream residential building industry.
  • National Green Building Certification
    The NAHB Research Center accredits third-party verifiers and is the sole certifying body for the National Green Building Program.
  • Certified Green Professional (CGP) Designation
    Classwork leading to the designation provides a solid background in green building methods, as well as the tools to reach consumers, from the organization leading the charge to provide market-driven green building solutions to the home building industry.
  • Green Approved Products
    Find products that the NAHB Research Center has approved as being eligible to contribute points toward certification under the National Green Building Standard™. Such products, when appropriately used, enable builders to earn points toward certification of the building.
  • Green Scoring Tool
    Allows designers to score new homes, renovations, and land developments to the National Green Building Standard or the NAHB Model Green Home Building Guidelines. It is the tool to use for National Green Building Certification

ICC 700-2008 National Green Building Standard: The National Green Building Standard is the first residential green building rating system to undergo the full consensus process and receive American National Standards Institute approval. The four threshold levels – Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Emerald – allow builders to achieve entry-level green building, or the highest level of sustainable “green” building incorporating energy savings of 60% or more. Single-family & multi-unit homes, residential remodeling projects, and site developments are all covered in the Standard.

Green Websites and Blogs for the Professionals

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Organizations, Associations and Councils:

U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC)

Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI)

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)

LEED Online website


LEED Online login

USGBC Regional Chapters

Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC)

Green Advantage

World Green Building Council

Building Research and Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM)

Green Building Initiative (Green Globes)

National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)


Greenroads Greenroads is a sustainability rating system for roadway design and construction projects

NEXUS a project of the Green Round Table

American Institute of Architects (AIA)

American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)

American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA)

Form-Base Codes Institute (FBCI)

SmartCode Central model transect-based planning and zoning document based on environmental analysis

Center for Applied Transect Studies

Government and National References:

U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)

U.S. Department of Energy Building Energy Codes Program

U.S. Department of Energy High Performance Federal Buildings Database

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative

Terms of Environment EPA Environmental Glossary, Abbreviations and Acronyms

California Environmental Protection Agency

Ohio Environmental Protection Agency

Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors National Association (SMACNA)

Brownfields and Land Revitalization

Code of Federal Regulations Definitions of prime agricultural land and wetlands

FEMA Definition of 100 year flood

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Endangered Species Program

NOAA Office of Protected Resources Endangered Species Act


Whole Building Design Guide (WBDG) National Institute of Building Sciences

California Building Standards Commission



American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE)

American National Standards Institute (ANSI)

Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)

Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IESNA)

International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO) Uniform Plumbing Code

International Code Council (ICC)


Environmental Design + Construction (EDC)

Green Builder

Architectural Record


Housing Zone Professional Builder, Professional Remodeler, Custom Builder Online and Housing Giants

Stratford, Naturally list for US and Canada


Green Building Law Update

Green Real Estate Law Journal


Green Building Law

Green Energy and Development Law

Environmental Law Professor Blog

Websites & Blogs:

Best Green Blogs

Green Blog List

Autodesk Buildings Resource Center

Harvard Green Building Resource

ARE forum


YRG Sustainability Consultants

Real Life LEED

The ReUse People


Cradle to Cradle

The Encylopedia of Alternative Energy and Sustainable Living

The Encylopedia of Earth

Life at HOK

Building My Green Life



Green Exam Guide



Residential Architect

Trendir – Modern House Designs

Architype Review



PBS Green Builders

Sustainable Connections

Building Commissioning


Facilities Management Resource

Alternative Energy News






Michelle Kaufmann Studio

If you discover any broken links, or have sites you recommend be included, please contact us or post here. Thank you.

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