The USGBC combines a market orientation with grassroots organization, having a chapter in all 50 states, and local branches under the chapters. Each chapter is its own 502(c)(3) organization, with individual membership typically $65 per year and non-transferable. The World Green Building Council, begun in 1998 by USGBC co-founder David Gottfried, seeks to extend the USGBC network on a global scale.
Benefits of membership may include the following: “When you join a chapter, you have the opportunity to support the USGBC mission of market transformation at the local level through education, advocacy and outreach. In addition, you can meet other like-minded people involved in green building, share your expertise to help raise awareness or hone your skills in an area in which you’re interested, from public-policy advocacy to communications to event planning. As a chapter member, you also have the opportunity to become a USGBC course reviewer and earn continuing eduction hours (CE's) toward your LEED professional credential. (http://www.usgbc.org/ShowFile.aspx?DocumentID=6495)
Some chapters of the USGBC have, “Online Communities” which are intended to assist in creating relationships between members with resources such as community directories, job forums and discussion forums. One may create a profile, join a group, and share files. The communities centered around chapters and local branches outreach to recruit more members, function as educational and networking resources, and, “advocate for LEED,” the USGBC’s own rating system. (http://www.usgbc.org/DisplayPage.aspx?CMSPageID=115)
The USGBC has national memberships which it extends to corporations. Its categories for organizations, with Annual Dues dependent on Category and Gross Annual Revenue, include Contractors and Builders, Corporate and Retail, Insurance Companies/Financial Institutions, Nonprofit & Environmental Organizations, Product Manufacturers, Building Controls, Service Contractors, and Distributors, Professional Firms (Architects, Engineers, Interior Designers, Landscape Architects, Planners, Press, etc), Real Estate/ Real Estate Service Providers, etc. (http://www.usgbc.org/DisplayPage.aspx?CMSPageID=56&)
By creating more and more entries in its list of members and connecting businesses with people the USGBC has created a networking platform which makes it a convenient tool for buying and selling products and services.
USGBC has found this approach to be extremely successful, making $57 million in assets in 2008, with 28% of this from certification fees, 25% from registrations and conferences, and 18% from publications. (Marie Rohde)
The USGBC advocates government incentives for green building practices. It states, “One of the most effective strategies to encourage green building is through financial or structural incentives. Rewarding developers or homeowners who adopt green building techniques spurs innovation and demand for green building technologies.” It also states, “Financial incentives, including tax credits/ abatements and revolving loan funds, are a highly successful means of encouraging developers to follow green building practices.” (http://www.usgbc.org/ShowFile.aspx?DocumentID=6247 “Financing and Encouraging Green Building in Your Community”)
The U.S. Green Building Council is a private organization that is, “committed to supporting federal, state and local governments in their pursuit and development of green building programs and initiatives.” (http://www.usgbc.org/DisplayPage.aspx?CMSPageID=1779) It is effectively independent from government funding, but states that in the endeavor toward a sustainable future, “it’s not a choice between green building codes or green building rating systems, instead, “it’s both these codes and rating systems working together, learning from one another, and continuously improving content, implementation and results.” By convincing numerous entities at local, state, and federal levels to adopt LEED-- including the Army, the GSA, San Jose, New York State-- it has guaranteed its relevance for decades to come.
The USGBC believes that the consumer is key to change. They acknowledge changes in the market and the increase in demand for green buildings: “One important aspect of certifying projects under a green building standard is being able to use this as a marketing tool.” http://www.usgbc.org/ShowFile.aspx?DocumentID=6247
LEED certification sells buildings to high-end clients and governments, gets architects and builders sparkling free publicity, and creates a hook for selling new products, materials, and systems to builders. It's a whole new commercial ecosystem. Anya Kamenetz
Green building certification can provide some measure of protection against future lawsuits through third-party verification of measures installed to protect indoor air quality, beyond just meeting code-required minimums. With the national focus on mold and its effect on building occupants, developers and building owners are focusing considerable attention on improving and maintaining indoor air quality.
Faster permitting or special permit assistance can also be considered a type of risk mitigation. ... In Austin, Texas, the city fast-tracked the development reviews for a large big-box retailer so that it was able to open 12 months ahead of schedule; the resulting profit gain paid entirely for the $2.8 million building!
Another risk management benefit of green buildings in the private sector is the faster sale and leasing of such buildings, compared to similar projects in the same town. Green buildings tend to be easier to rent and sell, because educated tenants increasingly understand their benefits. Green buildings are also seen as less risky by insurers.
The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is a 501(c)(3) private non-profit organization. Its mission statement is, “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.” The USGBC has been called the fastest-growing NGO in the world, with 17,000 member companies and organizations, and over 150,000 LEED-credentialed professionals in 2010. (http://usgbc.org; http://regenerativeventures.com )
USGBC was founded in 1993 by S. Richard Fedrizzi and David A. Gottfried. Founding Chairman and CEO Fedrizzi was previously a green marketing executive for United Technologies' HVAC subsidiary Carrier Corporation. He has overseen the organization's spectacular growth from $5 million a year in 2004 to $60 million in 2008, while CEO pay went from $196,000 to $480,000
Gottfried, who previously was a real-estate developer, went on in 1995 to form Regenerative Ventures and its consulting arm WorldBuild, whose mission is to “accelerate global transformation through green building profitability” for client companies, and then in 1998 to “invent and incubate” the World Green Building Council, and author the book Greed to Green: the Transformation of an Industry and a Life, published by WorldBuild in 2003. (http://regenerativeventures.com/id1.html )