USGBC, Sierra Club Volunteers Initiate Green Building Tours

Local volunteers of the Sierra Club and the U.S. Green Building Council have started conducting public tours of green buildings across the country.

Cherry Gardens Senior Apartments

Washington, D.C.—Local volunteers of the Sierra Club and the U.S. Green Building Council have started conducting public tours of green buildings across the country.

The tours, which began last week, are part of the national “Green Buildings for Cool Cities,” a partnership between the Sierra Club and USGBC. The program is aimed at helping cities nationwide make green buildings and communities a key part of their economic and environmental recovery efforts.

The USGBC/Sierra Club partnership makes a lot of sense, says Glen Brand, director of the Sierra Club’s national Cool Cities program, as both organizations have both a national presence and local chapters. The tours can provide a thorough education about green building, Brand says.

“You have building owners talking about how their buildings perform better, become more energy efficient, increase comfort and increase in value,” Brand says.

The tours will feature buildings across a variety of product types. In Charlotte, N.C., one of the state’s first LEED for Homes is highlighted. The 55-unit Cherry Gardens Senior Apartments is pursuing certification under the LEED for Homes rating system.

This is a new property, Brand said, but to really make a difference in the environment, existing buildings will have to be retrofitted to be more energy efficient.

That has a benefit beyond just helping the environment. “This will help generate jobs in a difficult economy,” Brand says.

Rental properties frequently face what Brand says is the “split incentive,” problem. Residents have little incentive to improve the energy efficiency of a property they do not own.

However, there may be some progress on that front. The city of Memphis now requires the city’s landlords to fix problems in their properties that are causing energy inefficiency. And, last fall, Deutsche Bank announced a partnership with the non-profit Community Preservation Organization to help fund energy retrofits in New York City apartment buildings.

The buildings on the tour include both LEED certified projects and those pursuing certification. Venues range from homes, banks and schools, to office buildings, municipal buildings and neighborhoods. In addition to Charlotte, other tours will take place in Memphis; Fort Collins, Col.; San Jose, Cal.; Reno, Nev.; Denver; Greater Milwaukee; and Augusta, Maine.

You May Also Like