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Sustainable development advocates reach out to legislators
On Feb. 26, members of the U.S. Green Building Council-North Carolina Chapter met with more than 20 NC senators and representatives during a daylong blitz to promote the economic benefits of the green building industry and energy efficiency policies.
The group started the day with an early morning planning session courtesy of the NC Sustainable Energy Association and Senator Jeff Tarte, R Mecklenburg, then broke into small teams to call on individual legislators on both sides of the aisle. Advocating for policies that promote cost effective, environmentally responsible and healthy buildings, the teams touted specific strategies to increase green home marketability, improve access to energy use data and initiate building benchmarking programs. In addition, they strongly encouraged lawmakers to support the 2012 NC Energy Conservation Code, protect the state’s renewable energy tax incentives and maintain current mandates for minimum renewable energy portfolios in regulated industries.
“Overall our conversations with legislators were very encouraging,”
“Some were even already involved in the movement to create healthy, high-performing buildings,” Cort says, noting that Representative Pricey Harrison of Guilford County and Representative Kelly Alexander of Mecklenburg County are the primary sponsors of a Green Roof Bill. USGBC NC ended Advocacy Day with the names of several legislators who expressed an interest in possibly supporting the Energy Data Access and/or the Building Benchmarking campaigns.
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 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, Triangle and Piedmont Triad chapters now function as branches of USGBC NC. USGBC NC serves all 100 counties in the state, has more than 900 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.