‘USGBC California’ Launches to Unify the California Green Building Movement


New Statewide Entity to Focus on Community Engagement, Workforce Development, Education & Stronger Statewide Advocacy

Recognized Sustainability Leaders Across California Support USGBC Communities Unifying into Statewide Organization

LOS ANGELES (April 10, 2024) – USGBC California launches this month as an independent nonprofit unifying six regional communities across the state that were originally founded in collaboration with the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). USGBC California’s vision is to help transform communities across California to become more sustainable, resilient and equitable for all through direct community engagement, workforce development and education. The new structure and entity create a centralized entry point where anyone can engage with and become part of the green building movement, help increase grassroots engagement in our local communities, and position California as a national and global leader in sustainable building design, construction, and operations. The organization will bring together all stakeholders from industry executives and workers to residents and youth in one unified platform across the state.

The regional chapters, which all have 20-plus years of history in their communities, will maintain their strength of knowledge and respective local leadership through Regional Advisory Boards, within the umbrella of USGBC California’s unified platform. These include (from south to north):  San Diego (SDGBC), Orange County (USGBC-OC), Los Angeles (USGBC-LA), Central Coast (CCGBC), Northern California (USGBC Northern California), and Redwood Empire (USGBC Redwood Empire).

As an entity, the U.S. Green Building Council-Los Angeles (USGBC-LA), an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit since 2002, will change its name to USGBC California, and its digital platform, programming, and staff will transition to serve the whole state. Ben Stapleton, Executive Director of USGBC-LA since 2019, will become Executive Director for USGBC California. A regional volunteer leadership group will be formed to run a new Los Angeles Chapter.

“California is a global leader in the fight against climate change. Standing as the 5th largest economy in the world, our state is experiencing the increasing impacts of climate change and yet, has an enormous opportunity to be a profound part of the solution. This comes with unique challenges that require a unified, collaborative approach in order for us all to adapt, grow, and thrive,” states Stapleton, who spearheaded the unification. “Buildings account for more than 40% of greenhouse gas emissions in California, and everyone should feel empowered to reduce those impacts. We will strive to accelerate action against climate change on a local level anduplift our collective voice to influence policy, advocacy and programming to better support our communities in addressing climate resilience and occupant health.”  

“California plays a crucial role in advancing sustainability efforts not only within the state but also on a national scale, setting an example and inspiring similar initiatives elsewhere,” said Peter Templeton, President and CEO, USGBC. “By bringing together aligned chapters, USGBC California is creating a stronger unified voice for promoting environmentally friendly practices in the built environment. We look forward to working closely with USGBC California to accelerate the transition towards healthy, resilient, equitable and sustainable buildings and communities.”

Washington, D.C.-based USGBC will actively partner with USGBC California to help support the rapid decarbonization of the California economy and improve the health, resilience, environmental quality, and social equity of California communities by improving the design, construction, and operation of buildings. They will also work together to grow a thriving, diverse coalition of organizations and professionals committed to improving the California built environment and positively influencing state and local policy outcomes.

The new organization will focus much of its effort on accelerating positive change through both existing and new initiatives that can be rolled out statewide for greater regional impact led by local community members, leveraging USGBC California’s digital platform, content, and tools. The initial focal points will be:

  • Workforce Development
  • Environmental Justice
  • Building Electrification
  • Embodied Carbon
  • Climate Resilience

USGBC California will leverage successful regional content, programming and events,  ranging from youth education to greening affordable housing to wildfire defense; volunteer-run and topic-based Committees, from environmental justice to building decarbonization to corporate sustainability; a year-round training portfolio that includes multiple certifications for workers and tradespeople; a full career center with job listings, Professionals Directory, Career Fairs and internship program; a Net Zero Accelerator to advance innovative companies and technologies from around the world; an active coalition on advocacy and policy matters that supports and stewards top sustainability priorities; thought leadership events, and more.

California Sustainability Leaders Support

“When I look at our environmental movement, I see a dire need. We need a new environmentalism based on building the clean energy and green projects we need as fast as we can. I am excited to see USGBC California help unite this green movement.”

Former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger

“Working together as USGBC California, the California regional communities will add powerful support to state efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from buildings. The Green Building Councils have brought together practitioners from all segments of the building community, educating and showcasing climate-friendly practices. USGBC has established itself as a strong, trusted voice on urban planning and design helping to build the market for advanced construction materials and efficient technologies. Today’s announcement will help advance California’s ambitious climate goals.”

Mary Nichols, Distinguished Counsel, Emmett Institute for Climate and Sustainability, UCLA School of Law

“The U.S. Green Building Council has been an important voice in the climate movement, bringing the expertise of building professionals into the policy arena to help us make effective and pragmatic policy to accelerate sustainable building practices. Bringing all the regional communities into a new, independent and unified USGBC California will broaden the impact on practitioners throughout the state and strengthen their influence in Sacramento.”

Senator Josh Becker (D-Menlo Park)

“USGBC is a strong, well-established brand that represents innovation, rigor and accountability in sustainable building construction and management. USGBC California will be a vital partner and convener of communities and practitioners across the state as we push to scale. I look forward to working with USGBC California to extend and amplify our state’s longstanding leadership.”

Andrew McAllister, Ph.D., Commissioner, California Energy Commission

USGBC California Community Leader Quotes (south to north)

“Collaboration at this scale will enable a unified USGBC California to bring new and exciting opportunities for increased statewide advocacy, workforce development, training, and education. It will also accelerate innovation to drive building decarbonization for the San Diego region while empowering individual members to enhance their impact and seize new opportunities for growth and influence.”

Colleen FitzSimons, Executive Director of San Diego Green Building Council

“California is a leader in green building, raising standards for communities across the country. Building on our local work in Orange County, we look forward to leveraging our local impact to propel the state further and into an even greater leadership role within the green building movement.”

Robyn Vettraino, Principal, VCA Green, USGBC Orange County

“As USGBC-LA, we’ve dramatically grown our member community, our programs, and training over the past five years. This transition provides us and all the California communities the opportunity to serve over 40 million people, becoming one powerful voice of advocacy around critical statewide issues, and we appreciate the support of USGBC in this new structure.”

Ben Stapleton, Executive Director, USGBC-LA

“A unified USGBC California will be the keystone so that all Californians can share in a sustainable and equitable built environment, ensuring the health of California’s ecosystems for generations to come.”

Cash Upton, Board President, Central Coast Green Building Council

“Uniting under the banner of USGBC California only strengthens our commitment to advancing green buildings in our state. The Northern California community stands to benefit from the broader expertise and collaboration across California, harnessing expertise and valuable insights that will influence the green building movement statewide and beyond.”

Kevin Hydes, Founder, Integral, USGBC Northern California

“Speaking on behalf of the US Green Building Council Redwood Empire Chapter Board, we are immensely proud to serve as representatives of the Redwood Empire in this groundbreaking collaboration for green building across California. With the formation of USGBC California, we anticipate a wealth of opportunities for professional and workforce development. Our members can look forward to a robust lineup of educational programs and trainings designed to elevate their skills and knowledge, empowering them to make significant contributions to the advancement of sustainable practices in the built environment.”

Oren Wool, Interim Executive Director, US Green Building Council Redwood Empire

For questions regarding the USGBC California, please contact Julie Du Brow, Director of Communications and Partnerships, at julie@usgbc-ca.org, or Ben Stapleton, Executive Director, at ben@usgbc-ca.org.

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About USGBC California

USGBC California is a 501(c)3 non-profit and member-based organization whose vision is to transform California’s built environment into a more sustainable, resilient, and equitable region for all. USGBC California is comprised of green building communities across the state. We lead by inspiring leaders throughout our communities to take action on climate change, public health, and environmental justice while educating, developing, and empowering a diverse talent pipeline through our training, mentorship, and direct-to-community programs. We connect by merging interdisciplinary perspectives and collaborations to create positive systemic change. We advocate through promoting innovative, impactful policy solutions addressing the most urgent environmental and social challenges of our time.(www.usgbc-ca.org)

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