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Mr. Green Goes to Raleigh: Green Building Advocacy Day
The newly formed United States Green Building Council North Carolina Chapter is heading to the state legislature for a day of advocacy. Leaders of USGBC NC will meet with legislators on February 26 to promote green building and sustainable energy.
The group is advocating for policies that promote cost-effective, environmentally responsible and healthy places to live, work and learn. Healthy buildings enhance quality of life, increase productivity in the workplace and improve the performance of students in our schools. The advocates will introduce specific strategies to increase green home marketability, improve access to energy use data, and strengthen building benchmarking programs. In addition, the USGBC NC group is joining forces with like-minded organizations to protect renewable energy tax incentives and maintain current mandates for minimum renewable energy portfolios in regulated industries.
“The renewable energy tax incentives have been an engine of economic recovery,” says Chris Studney, Chairman of USGBC NC’s Board of Directors, citing an estimated $3.7 billion in annual revenue and 15,200 jobs generated by North Carolina’s renewable energy industry. As for the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard (REPS), Studney says, “Keeping it should be a no-brainer. Using renewable resources and energy efficiency to meet a portion of the demand for electricity is significantly cheaper than building new power plants.”
Advocacy is just one of many tools employed by USGBC NC to pursue its 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. Towards that end, the non-profit promotes the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) rating system. USGBC NC hosts LEED trainings for building industry professionals and a wide variety of educational programs for the public and professionals. These include tours of LEED certified buildings and presentations about energy, water conservation, and green building design, materials and techniques.
USGBC NC has already presented six educational programs since its inception in January, when three USGBC chapters in North Carolina merged to form one statewide chapter. The former Charlotte, Piedmont Triad and Triangle chapters now function as branches of USGBC NC. USGBC NC serves all 100 counties in the state, has more than 930 members and a network of more than 4,000 individuals and businesses. The chapter publishes a monthly newsletter and weekly email updates. The web site, www.usgbcnc.org, contains a wealth of resources, including news, an event calendar, LEED case studies and a webinar portal, as well as information about the mission, board of directors, staff, sponsors, committees and volunteer opportunities.
The purpose of the merger was to increase the capacity for driving market transformation and to give the green building movement in North Carolina a stronger voice. Advocacy Day will give the USGBC NC an opportunity to exercise its new lungs.