Green Building Organizations
U.S. Green Building Council
The U.S. Green Building Council is a nonprofit membership organization whose vision is a sustainable built environment within a generation. Its membership includes corporations, builders, universities, government agencies, and other nonprofit organizations. Since USGBC's founding in 1993, the Council has grown to more than 14,500 member companies and organizations, a comprehensive family of LEED green building rating systems, an expansive educational offering, the industry's popular Greenbuild International Conference and Expo, and a network of 77 local chapters, affiliates, and organizing groups. For more information, visit USGBC.org.
LEED® for Homes
LEED for Homes is a third-party certification system for high-performance green homes. Developed and administered by USGBC, LEED for Homes awards points to projects in seven categories of environmental performance: Location & Linkages, Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Indoor Environmental Quality, Energy & Atmosphere, Homeowner Awareness, and Innovation and Design. To date, more than 1300 homes in the U.S. and Canada have been LEED-certified, and over 13,000 have been registered and are under development. For more information, visit www.thegreenhomeguide.org.
The Center for Ecological Technology (CET) is located in Pittsfield and Northampton, Massachusetts, and is the LEED for Homes Provider responsible for the certification process in our area (northwest Connecticut).
Energy Star, a joint program of the US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and the US Department of Energy (USDOE) was initiated by the EPA in 1992. It is probably the best known building energy initiative and a good basic guide to measures that can be taken to improve overall energy efficiency in new and existing buildings.
At first a voluntary labeling program designed to encourage products that reduced greenhouse gas emissions (computers and moniters were first), it has since gone through a rapid expansion. By 1995 it had grown to cover more office equipment products and residential HVAC equipment. In 1996, EPA partnered with the USDOE and began producing specific product labels, which now cover a broad range of products. Now in partnership with local utility companies and private energy efficiency service providers, Energy Star develops performance standards and ratings for homes and commercial buildings.