Sharing our experiences will help us create a future shaped by a commitment to healthy people, healthy places, and a healthy economy.

Check out these stories from across the country, and please share your own.

We will feature as many as possible on the site and on our social channels.

Changing one life can change the world

Living Standard

The stakes are higher, the challengers are greater, but so are the opportunities.

Laurie Kerr | LK Policy Lab, New York, NY

“I want the cities that we have to outlive us.”

George Bandy Jr. | Mohawk Group, Atlanta, GA

“How do I begin to engage all communities to understand that sustainability is critically important?”

Mahesh Ramanujam | President and CEO of U.S. Green Building Council, Washington, DC

“I continue to recognize why it is important to pay it forward.”

David Chiesa | S&C Electric Company, Chicago, IL

“Your heart goes out to these people and you want to make their lives better.”

Carmen Yulin Cruz | Mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico

“The human spirit soars real high in a crisis.”

Kathie Tovo | Mayor Pro Tem, Austin City Council, District 9

“If we design spaces that are wonderful, it does make people healthier and happier.”

Kimberly Lewis | U.S. Green Building Council, Washington, DC

“This is a conversation that’s going to make herself and her children’s lives better.”

Paul Pabst | S&C Electric Company, Chicago, IL

“I think a company plays a huge role in improving someone’s quality of life and their living standards.”

Rami Vagal | Mohawk Group, Atlanta, GA

“One of the beautiful things about hand printing is that you have to think about the ripple effect that it can generate.”

Annie Perkins | Sustainable Forestry Initiative

“Vibrant timber cities really bring wood and nature back into where we are in urban settings.”

Gina Lamotte | EcoRise, Austin, TX

“Young people right now will be charged with redesigning the world in which we live.”

Mayor Michael Hancock & Jerry Tinianow | Denver, CO

“This certification by USGBC really addresses the key elements that we believe are going to be important in combating climate change.”

Rami Vagal | Mohawk Group, Atlanta, GA

“What we’re trying to do is train these students on the importance of renewable energy and sustainability early on in their childhood.”

Bella Hubbard | Evanston, IN

I hope that my story shows other youth that there is a place for their voice and leadership in this fight.”

Sarah Uyeda | Oahu, HA

“I want to lead our next generation to a cleaner, better, and brighter future.” 

How a recycling center is changing lives

Mike Carey, Orange Coast College Recycling Center

Recommitting to "reduce" and "reuse" during COVID-19

Celeste McMickle, TRUE Zero Waste

High school seniors lead on sustainability

Sarah Uyeda, Oahu, HA & Bella Hubbard, Evanston, IN

Top states for LEED green building

One thing is clear: LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is not only a de facto leadership standard, but an all-encompassing living standard that marks a renewed global commitment to healthy people, healthy places, and a healthy economy.

With more than 104,000 projects across the globe, LEED is the most widely used green building rating system in the world.

Each year, the U.S. Green Building Council announces the Top 10 States for LEED green building. In 2019, we saw 10 states creating a higher living standard for those who live, work, and visit the place they call home. But the work that goes into this transformation doesn’t happen overnight — it takes a collective commitment to ensuring healthier building practices on the homefront and sharing those methods around the country and the world.

Maria Ortega | NS Bluescape Coated Products North America, California

“LEED plays a very big role … in terms of contributing to a healthier environment for businesses and education and the occupants within those buildings.”

David Chiesa | S&C Electric Company, Illinois

“It’s not just the way you build it, but it’s the way you execute it and the way you sustain it.”

Josh Radoff | WSP, Colorado

“Every single inch of the building had something that was related to health or workplace experience.”

Laurie Kerr | LK Policy Lab, New York

“Prior to USGBC anybody could say anything whether their building was green. By codifying it, they enabled green building to have traction.”

George Bandy | Jr., Mohawk Corporation, Georgia

“They’ve seen us create sustainable platforms inside the organization.”

Sarah Talkington | Commercial Austin Energy Green Building Team, Texas

“It’s proof that sustainability works.”

Jerry Tinianow | Denver, CO

“We spend too much time in our society measuring things in terms of economics and dollars, and gross domestic product, things like that — and I really think that the most important measure is human happiness.”

Clayton Bartczak | Ambient Energy, Denver, CO

“It’s about helping people change their mind about what’s possible.”

Tim Gallegos | GAF Roofing, New Mexico

“If we make a good example of ourselves, we have to start here at the building industry to recognize how we can make it a better place for all of us.”

Greening Rochester

How Minnesota became a Top 10 State for LEED

Educating for the future we want

How New York became a Top 10 State for LEED

Leading by square foot

How little steps made Colorado 2019’s top state for LEED


This is a consequential decade. The intersection of climate change, public health, resilience, equity, and the health of our economy has never been more visible or pressing than it is today. Dissecting our past can provide a good window into creating a future where we face these concurrent crises head on.

As part of the Living Standard Campaign, USGBC is taking a closer look at the people, projects, and companies advancing our vision. We are asking individuals from around the world to give us a glimpse at how they began their journeys in green building and environmental action, and how they continue that work today.

Just as every hero has an origin story, or “Storigin,” so too do the champions of the green building community. By sharing your beginnings, we hope to encourage others to think about their own Storigins, why they were first inspired to act, and how their own unique backgrounds can help solve today’s mounting humanitarian, economic, and environmental obstacles.

What first inspired you? How does that early spark continue today? How have your credentials helped you become a leader in creating healthier spaces? How have your leadership roles impacted your commitment to designing a healthier and more prosperous world for all?

Tell us. What are your Storigins?

Mayor Michael Hancock, City of Denver

Kevin Bright, City of Rochester, MN

Jennifer Dowd, National Wildlife Federation

Jerry Tinianow, City of Denver

David Bluestone, ClearPath Strategies

Gina LaMotte, EcoRise

Rami Vagal, Mohawk Group

Frank Niepold, NOAA

Jaimie Cloud, Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education

Paul Hutton, Cunningham Group Architecture

Vince Meldrum, Earth Force
Building Florida’s sustainable future, one home at a time

Marshall Gobuty, Pearl Homes