By Grey Lee

What's up?

A contingent of USGBC MA Staff & Volunteers attended the USGBC Mid-Year Meeting in downtown Detroit this week. Every year the many committees, boards, technical advisory groups, and chapter staff & volunteers from around the country gather for this “Revival.” 

I was there with Green Schools Program Manager Steve Muzzy to meet with our colleagues in chapter administration and on green schools. It was a great forum to trade best practices, to hear about innovations in management and program execution, and to deliberate on the best path(s) forward for our collective work to transform our communities for the better.

Also present were Chris Schaffner (LEED Committee), Andrea Love (Chapters Steering Committee), Brad Jones (LEED as well), John Dalzell (National USGBC Board), Nathan Gauthier (LEED again), Jessica Miller (EPMA), and probably some other “low-profile” folks. Let me know if you were there!

I have to admit, it really is great to consider and anticipate the positive difference we are making for our world. Thank you to the USGBC for convening this super gathering!

Downtown Detroit has a lot of old buildings that need new ideas to be re-invigorated. There is a surging start-up and artistic culture in Detroit, featuring a real buzz and excitement within the majesty of a hundred years of great old building stock. The Emerging Professionals of Detroit Regional Chapter hosted a meeting at local start-up incubator on the 18th floor of the building below. Great to hear how a new generation is returning to this big old city's heart!



However, it was mostly long hours in the convention center, meeting after meeting – work session, strategy session, presentation, you name it – we worked at it.


One focus was on the improvement of Chapter operations and reducing redundant activities. How can the national entity, the regional councils, and chapters share the load in a better way? Many great ideas. I'm now on the “Business & Operations Review Committee,” tasked with drafting a plan to reveal at Greenbuild in October.


I also presented on Building Energy Benchmarking (like our BERDO and BEUDO) with my colleague Brian Imus, Executive Director of the Illinois Chapter, where Chicago also just passed a benchmarking ordinance. Now he and I will work to share a model of how to campaign for this across the country. It really is in line with our mission and since we've had a handful of successes, we can really roll out with momentum to get every market to have transparency in building energy use in order to drive ever greater energy efficiency in the building stock.
There were breaks to eat and hear major presentations – 
On the main stage on the second night, we heard a great “pep talk” from Founding Chairman and CEO Rick Fedrizzi who spoke about how our movement is growing and how the opposition is growing as well. “We have to be reckoned with” and that is creating a new level of attention from our detractors in the unsustainable timber and toxic plastics industries. So for now, we're going to have to fight harder. States & markets where our green market transformation momentum is strong, like Massachusetts, will have to “raise the flag higher” and keep our detractors on the defense. It's been a long 20 years of growth for the USGBC, so let's stay strong together to move on our mission for the next 20 years. I agree, Rick!
We did have a few meetings in some of the great old spaces, like the Guardian Building here.
Here we can see part of the transformation in Downtown Detroit – an old lot turned into a thriving urban garden space with a meditation and yoga area. I was surprised to see my car parked nearby; but then again, sometimes it has a mind of its own.
Thank you again USGBC for hosting and facilitating this great gathering of our hard-core devotees and experts. LEED ON!
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