The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) honored 2007's most influential green building leaders yesterday at its annual Leadership Awards celebration, which was held at the Merchandise Mart during the Greenbuild International Conference and Expo in Chicago, Illinois. The USGBC Leadership Awards recognize companies and individuals who signify vision, leadership and commitment to the evolution of green building design and construction.

"The organizations and individuals represented at the awards truly embody the attributes expected of a green building leader," said Rick Fedrizzi, President, CEO & Founding Chair, USGBC. "It is because of their passion and expertise that our mission of transforming the built environment within a generation has gained momentum."

The 2007 Leadership Awards recognize achievements in six categories including Community, Education, LEED, Organizational Excellence, Research and Advocacy.

In the Community category LEED faculty member Gail Linsey from Design Harmony received the award for her integral role in the development of the design charrettes for the LEED rating system as well as her innovative work on the North Carolina Triangle J High Performance Guidelines and the Green Building Advisor program. Her past projects include: the Greening of the White House and the Pentagon, The Sustainable Design Initiatives for the National Park Service, The International Green Building Challenge, and the Department of Defense‚s Sustainable Design Training Program. In the last few years Gail has been assisting the U.S. EPA with their Energy Star Program.

The Aldo Leopold Legacy Center was honored in the Education category. Based in Baraboo, WI this LEED-Platinum building is the new headquarters and construction center for the Aldo Leopold Foundation. Award honorees include The Kubala Washatko Architects, Inc., The Boldt Company Appleton, WI., Tom Boldt and Theresa Lehman. The building is carbon-neutral, „zero net‰ energy in design and will produce over 110 percent of annual building energy needs. A major building component includes site-harvested wood originally planted during the land restoration efforts by the Leopold family in the 1930‚s and 1940's.

In the LEED category, Rob Harris, Chief of the Engineering Division of the Directorate of Public Works, Ft. Bragg, NC received the award for his aggressive program to adopt LEED-NC and LEED-EB in the military facilities of Fort Bragg where a $3 billion construction program will be completed over the next five years. He is a powerful advocate and ambassador for green building for the federal government, particularly within the department of defense.

In the Organization Excellence category, David Eisenberg and the Development Center for Appropriate Technology received the award in acknowledgment of DCAT's focus on building sustainability into the codes over the past dozen years. David Eisenberg has effectively communicated to mainstream industry the importance of integrating green design principles into municipal codes, and he has been tireless in his grassroots efforts to educate and work hands on with green builders, both in the U.S., and increasingly on an international level.

KieranTimberlake Associates was honored in the Research category for creativity in seamlessly integrating research into design. The firm commits substantial resources toward research, development and innovation. Through research into new materials, processes, assemblies and products, KieranTimberlake seeks ways to improve the art, quality and craft of architecture.

In the Advocacy category Ashok Gupta, Director, Air & Energy Program, Natural Resources Defense Council received the award in recognition of his work on the New York State Green Building Tax Credit and the carbon neutral redevelopment of the World Trade Center site. Ashok was co-chair of the energy and environmental policy advisory committee for Governor Spitzer‚s transition and is NRDC‚s representative on Mayor Bloomberg's Sustainability Advisory Board and Energy Policy Task Force. He was the primary architect of the New York State Green Building Tax Credit, and he was instrumental in securing the system benefit charge in NYS which has provided long-term funding for green buildings.