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…The real challenge for us in the sustainability movement is we need to communicate the ROI (return on investment) of what we’re doing. We need to communicate…this is how we make more money long-term. This is how we create a healthier society when our healthcare costs are lowered, and we can do that by having buildings that create a healthier environment.

Ben Stapleton, Executive Director for the U.S. Green Building Council-California

A note to listeners who may be sensitive to the subject matter: This episode contains a brief discussion of suicide risk among construction workers.

The work of decarbonizing our communities and cities has never been more critical than it is today. Countless observers of climate change are warning the world that our window to drastically reduce or eliminate fossil fuel use and avoid 1.5°C or more of global warming is narrowing with each year.

We know that nearly 40% of global emissions come from the construction and operation of buildings. For the last 30 years, the U.S. Green Building Council has been focused on remediating this critical aspect of the global warming picture. Their Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building rating system is the world’s most widely used framework for green design, augmented by LEED credentialing for professionals in sustainable design, construction, and operations.

The USGBC operates through a network of 75 local chapters nationwide. Last week, six chapters in California announced they are combining their regional expertise and expanding their efforts under one inclusive statewide nonprofit, known as USGBC-California. In this interview, we’ll learn more about the goals of the merger, and how the Los Angeles chapter was particularly instrumental in this effort to engage more communities and professionals working toward an energy transition.

Listen in as Ten Across founder Duke Reiter and USGBC-California Executive Director Ben Stapleton discuss solutions for decarbonizing the built environment, ideals for the future of city health and design, and how California is currently leading the way in many U.S. climate efforts.

Other articles referenced in this episode:

“Arizona lawmaker calls climate research ‘anti-God,’ pushes to ban it at state universities” (The Arizona Republic, March 14, 2024)

“DeSantis bans local governments from protecting workers from heat and limits police oversight boards” (NBC Miami, April 14, 2024)

Guest Speaker

Ben Stapleton is the executive director for the U.S. Green Building Council-California. Ben is a seasoned real estate and energy efficiency advisor— who, prior to joining the USGBC-California, helped launch the La Kretz Innovation Campus in Downtown LA and lead operations and finance for major program initiatives for the LA Clean Tech Incubator (LACI). He is also the recipient of JLL’s distinctive Da Vinci Award for innovation and the Los Angeles Business Council’s Community Impact Award.