USGBC Honors JLL, Transwestern SVP, Army, NGOs

USGBC Honors JLL, Transwestern SVP, Army, NGOs

Editor's note: To read all our coverage of Greenbuild 2009, visit

U.S. Green Building Council closed its annual Greenbuild conference with awards to industry leaders, as the region's convention bureau hailed the estimated 28,000 building professionals who came to town for boosting the local economy by some $30 million.

The Greater Phoenix Convention and Visitors Bureau released its projection of direct spending by the event, its organizers and its attendees, and noted that the recent expansion of the city's convention center made it possible to accommodate the nearly week-long gathering. Conference organizers, betting that projects would be completed as planned, booked the site in 2005.

Greenbuild 2009's pre-conference events began last Tuesday with a meeting of the World Green Building Council International Congress, day-long workshops and the tradeshow opening. Full-day building tours (and a golf tournament and a hike) continued Saturday, but the "main-stage events" of the eighth annual Greenbuild International Conference and Expo wrapped up Friday with a closing ceremony that included remarks from Nancy Sutley, the chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality.

USGBC President, CEO and Founding Chair Rick Fedrizzi thanked attendees and presenters for their participation. Their efforts, he said, enabled him to say that "every year we keep raising the bar at Greenbuild."

The organization then recognized the year's winners of the USGBC Leadership Awards for work that has served as a model for green building and helped raise industry standards.

The four winners for 2009 are:

Jones Lang LaSalle

Commercial real estate services firm Jones Lang LaSalle received the award in the private sector category and was praised for harnessing its "size and scope to establish sustainability as smart business."

The company based in Chicago, which has about 1.4 billion square feet in its property and corporate facilities management portfolio worldwide, helped clients generate $95 million in energy savings in 2008 while also aiding clients' in reducing carbon emissions by more than 438,000 tonnes. JLL disclosed its own carbon footprint this year and reported emitting an estimated 44,000 metric tonnes of CO2.

In October, the firm announced that it had enrolled all 330 buildings in its U.S. portfolio in the Energy Star program. JLL's green building programs includes a preference for LEED-certified buildings and space for new offices and a requirement that interior build-outs be constructed to at least LEED-Silver standards. The firm surpassed its own goal of having 500 LEED accredited professionals on its payroll by the end of this year: By June the company's tally hit 544 LEED APs.

Transwestern Senior Vice President Allan Skodowski

Senior Vice President Allan Skodowski, the director LEED & Sustainability for the company, also was awarded in the private sector category. During Skodowski's tenure, the commercial real estate and development firm has greened more than 250 million square feet of space across the country. That effort includes Transwestern's participation in the USGBC's volume certification program under the LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance.

The U.S. Army Construction Engineering Research Laboratory

The Construction Engineering Research Laboratory was awarded in the public sector category. The lab is part of the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center, the Army Corps of Engineers' R&D organization. The lab's research is focused on sustainable military installations and improving the Army's ability to more efficiently build, maintain and operate facilities that are environmentally sound, safe and cost effective.

The USGBC praised the lab, known as CERL, and its team for a commitment to LEED certification in facility acquisition. The green building council also lauded CERL for laying the groundwork for the 2008 policy that requires all new military construction projects by the Army in the U.S. and abroad to attain at least LEED-Silver certification and involve at least one LEED AP.

Second Nature, the Association for Advancement in Sustainability in Higher Education, EcoAmerica

Second Nature, the Association for Advancement in Sustainability in Higher Education and EcoAmerica were honored as NGOs for their work on the American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment. The climate commitment group provides a framework as well as a support system for college and university chiefs who pledge that their campuses will devise and follow plans to achieve climate neutrality. More than 660 have signed the commitment. The organization grew out of talks at an Association for Advancement in Sustainability in Higher Education conference in 2006.

The USGBC also gave stage time during its closing ceremonies to The Home Depot Foundation, which presented its fifth annual Awards of Excellence for Affordable Housing Built Responsibly.

Habitat for Humanity in St. Louis, Missouri, won first place in the contest's home ownership category. Over a two-year period the group completed 27 single-family homes that meet LEED-Platinum rating standards, the highest possible under the assessment system, and attained the Environmental Protection Agency's Indoor Air Package certification. The homes are designed to be 49 percent energy efficient than those traditionally built to code.

Two groups were recognized in the rental category. First place went to National Community Renaissance, dubbed National CORE, for its Vista Dunes project in La Quinta, California. The organization transformed a tired mobile home park into an 80-unit green and affordable housing development, which also meets LEED Platinum standards. Building the development to the highest LEED standards did not entail incremental costs to the project, the foundation said. Residents' utility bills are now about 67 percent less as a result of energy efficient building. Residents also were provided training on how to maintain their resource efficient homes.

The Office of Rural Farm-Worker Housing in Yakima, Washington, was honored as a runner up. The 26 rental townhomes at Pear Tree Place are certified by Enterprise's Green Communities program and were completed in 2008. Residents in the development generally earn less than $40,000 annually. They now save 35 percent on their energy bills and 31 percent on their water bills as a result of their new green quarters, the foundation said. The project added less than 1 percent to the total development costs, according to the foundation.

Image courtesy of the Phoenix Convention Center.