The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has recognized seven of its nearly 80 local chapters with its annual Chapter Awards of Excellence. The awards are given to chapters that excel in providing local green building outreach and education and in fostering best practices among the green building community. The four award categories include: Advocacy & Influence; Community; Education; and Organizational Excellence. The awards are sponsored each year by USGBC national member Milliken & Company. “Our chapters are the driving force behind USGBC’s efforts to make green building a reality for everyone within a generation,” said Heather Tomlinson, Vice President of Community. “Chapter staff and volunteers dedicate time and resources to take important action locally through advocacy, outreach and education in order to produce positive results globally, and their work certainly deserves recognition.” The Advocacy & Influence award recognizes chapters that have developed and implemented a successful green building advocacy campaign, resulting in the adoption of local green building legislation and the potential for state-wide legislation. The winner of the Award of Excellence in the Advocacy & Influence category for a small chapter was the Cincinnati Regional Chapter. Through its efforts, the chapter cultivated a strong relationship with the Mayor of Cincinnati, who has since signed on to the Mayors’ Alliance for Green Schools, and helped move the state of Ohio one step closer to implementing legislation requiring LEED Silver Certification - plus 30 percent energy efficiency - for any state funded project. The Community award recognizes a chapter for its efforts to expand the green building community within its area by building relationships with other local organizations, fostering proactive partnerships and leading a meaningful dialogue among the groups and the local community, as a whole. The winner of the Award of Excellence in the Community large chapter category was the Chicago Chapter for its work on the Urban Open/New Horizons Community Garden project, a collaborative effort with area high school students, community members and local volunteers on the design and construction of a sustainable, indoor/outdoor facility in Chicago’s East Garfield Park. The winner of the Award of Excellence in the Community small chapter category was the Vermont Green Building Network (VGBN) for leading an innovative Web site project involving the Vermont Green Home Alliance, which resulted in the launch of a critical resource where individuals from regions throughout the state could interact, educate and share information on various residential rating systems. The St. Louis Chapter received an honorable mention in the Community large chapter category for its Growing Green Awards, which recognize individuals, groups, organizations and companies that are transforming the built environment into a healthier place to live, work and play. The Education award recognizes chapters that have made a significant contribution to green building market transformation through diverse, quality and purposeful educational offerings. The James River Green Building Council in central Virginia received the large chapter award for creating and implementing educational programs that present wide-audiences with unique opportunities to get involved, including the “Green Spaces” design competition, LEED workshops and events, Eco-Building Tours and organizational partnerships. The South Carolina Chapter won the Award of Excellence in Education for a small chapter through the development of high-level, consistent and impactful educational programs that allowed each of the chapter’s four branch regions to provide LEED and green building learning and community-building at a grassroots level. The Chicago Chapter received an honorable mention in the Education large chapter category for its commitment to elevating the level of its educational content with data critical to measuring the performance of green buildings. The Organizational Excellence award recognizes a small and large chapter for leading initiatives that have improved or enhanced chapter leader development and demonstrated excellence in organizational practices, including areas such as board leadership, communications, planning and overall organizational efficiency. The winner of the Organizational Excellence award in a large chapter category was the Delaware Valley Green Building Council (DVGBC) for significantly increasing organizational efficiency, transparency and communication, developing a strategic plan to advance program and advocacy goals and investing in a new Web site with a rigorous data, event and committee management system. The Georgia Chapter won the award for Organizational Excellence in a small chapter category for its successful merger of the state’s two existing entities in Atlanta and Savannah, forming one, balanced organization focused on green building market transformation across the entire state of Georgia. Winning chapters received recognition during USGBC’s Chapter Forum at Greenbuild and on USGBC’s Web site, as well as a financial award. The awards review panels for each category were comprised of a cross section of USGBC leadership including chapter leaders and staff, national staff and members of USGBC’s Board of Directors and Chapter Steering Committee.
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