The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) applauds the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) and its membership for embracing a green building policy agenda, including the adoption of five resolutions that benefit our built environment and are critical to USGBC's mission of transforming the design, construction and operations of our buildings and communities.

The resolutions that passed this week include:
• Financing Mechanisms to Pay for Energy Retrofits of Existing Buildings
• Greening of School Districts
• Sustainable Development in Cities
• Green Affordable Housing and Financing
• Calling on U.S. Cities to Adopt Green Building Codes and the International Green Construction Code

Mayors have long been leading the effort to address climate change and the need to promote sustainability in our nation‚s cities. These resolutions, passed unanimously in Oklahoma City during the USCM annual meeting, represent a powerful endorsement of support for implementing a green building agenda that will advance our greatest opportunities to revitalize the economy through green jobs and save money through operational cost savings while turning the tide of climate change, preserving water and natural resources, and promoting health for all people.

"Critical to bringing green building to scale is smart public policy that enables investment and market growth," said Roger Platt, Senior Vice President of Global Policy & Law, USGBC.  "USCM's set of resolutions calls on mayors nationwide to do just that, placing a special emphasis on ensuring that the benefits of green buildings are enjoyed by the sectors that need it most — like affordable housing and schools."

Continued Platt, "USCM's endorsement of the International Green Construction Code (IGCC) is a strong statement of support for what we are seeing as the next critical step in the green building movement, complementing the work that we have been doing with LEED — USGBC's above-code rating tool that has been embraced by more than 200 local jurisdictions, 34 states and 12 federal agencies or departments." USGBC worked with a consortium of national partners to launch the IGCC in March of this year.  The code includes USGBC co-authored Standard 189.1 as an optional path to compliance.

The resolutions mark the continuation of a national trend of local government leadership on sustainability planning and innovation.  USGBC's recent launch of the LEED for Neighborhood Development rating system — referenced in the resolutions alongside other LEED rating systems for building design, construction and operations — promises to be an important tool in further supporting the work of these leading mayors. 

The resolution supporting the greening of school districts cited that greening existing schools using tools like the LEED green building rating system can optimize building performance, resolve operational inefficiencies and dramatically reduce utility costs.  Greening existing schools can happen through low or no-cost operations and maintenance improvements, such as implementing water efficiency measures, green cleaning programs, sustainable purchasing practices, recycling and waste reduction initiatives, and energy management plans that can save a school district millions of dollars a year in direct operating expenses.

Buildings in the United States are responsible for 39% of CO2 emissions, 40% of energy consumption, 13% water consumption and 15% of GDP per year, making green building a source of significant economic and environmental opportunity. Greater building efficiency can meet 85% of future U.S. demand for energy, and a national commitment to green building has the potential to generate 2.5 million American jobs.