WASHINGTON — The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) convened May 14 for its annual Federal Summit, a daylong exchange of ideas on how to best meet the goals of increased sustainability in existing buildings and communities, according to the USGBC. High level officials from throughout the federal sector, including Senior White House Advisor Nancy Sutley, chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, discussed topics such as leveraging the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to achieve environmental goals, implementing technical solutions to meet the energy efficiency goals set out in Energy Independence and Security Act and updates on LEED and other USGBC activities.

“Green building and retrofitting is at the top of the legislative agenda, and now is the time to work together toward the common goals of advancing green building and improving our nation’s economy,” said Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO and founding chair, USGBC. “The Federal Summit provides a unique opportunity to discuss critical issues and the leadership role of the federal government in mitigating climate change.”

According to the USGBC, 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.

The federal government, a longtime green building advocate, owns 139 certified and 1,560 registered projects, totaling over 263 million square feet. Currently, 12 federal agencies use the LEED Rating System, which is endorsed by the General Services Administration (GSA).

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