By Grey Lee

USGBC has been able to transform the real estate industry toward greater sustainability in our built environment. The LEED rating system to certify buildings has been a powerful tool in that process. We love LEED! It has resulted in better buildings, reduced infrastructure costs & escalations, improved health and many, many jobs for our colleagues and stakeholders in the green building sector.


The Massachusetts Chapter is engaging with USGBC's national advocacy campaigns to promote LEED as a tool for municipalities to improve their buildings, improved their economies and improve their branding.


Working with a team from Washington DC, I recently went on tour to connect with mayors, planners, and other key leaders throughout Massachusetts. We visited a number of “Gateway Cities” – urban areas which have significant economic and social challenges. We have seen communities embrace green building policies for a variety of benefits in other states, and we can do it here as well. Massachusetts is a leader in energy efficency and renewables, and we can be even more of a leader in green buildings. If we get more municipalities, through their local zoning and development review processes, to stipulate LEED in their policies, we will see the benefits of more green buildings in more communities of the Commonwealth.


Below is the crew: Greer, Chris, Christina and Conor, in the “Flag Room” of the Fall River City Hall:

In our first round of touring in early May, we visited four cities: Brockton, Fall River, Worcester and Holyoke.

Here I am with Conor Yunits, running the team from Liberty Square Group in Boston, who have deep experience in political advocacy campaigns at the local level. It helps that he is from Brockton, in this case. Brockton had a hay-day in the 19th century making a lot of shoes. Inside City Hall are some amazing murals from the 19th Century. Maybe with LEED certified green buildings they can regain their former glory?


Here we have Greer Millard from Liberty Square Group and Christina Kuo, Director of Advocacy at USGBC talking with Dan Racicot, Worcester's Mayor Petty's Chief of Staff. It looks like we'll be doing a presentation for that city's Chamber of Commerce later in the summer.


The last stop on this day's tour was Holyoke's City Hall. Plenty of folks know about the canals and the mill buildings of Holyoke. Some of you have seen the City Hall. Have you ever been up into the actual “hall” of City Hall? It is magnificent!


In Holyoke, we met with Mayor Morse to talk about the benefits of LEED at the municipal level. They are about to certify their library and have had a good experience with LEED so far. They were interested in the LEED ND materials as well. There is a lot of potential for green buildings in Holyoke!

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