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Press Room:  For Immediate Release 
Explore, Enjoy and Protect the Planet


March 16, 2010

Glen Brand, Sierra Club, 207-272-0484
Ashley Katz, USGBC, 202-742-3738

Sierra Club, USGBC Volunteers Lead ‘Green Building for Cool Cities’ Project

Washington, DC - Local volunteers of the Sierra Club and the U.S. Green Building Council are holding public tours of green buildings across the U.S. this week to highlight the local economic and environmental benefits of energy-efficient, sustainable buildings.

The tours are part of the national "Green Buildings for Cool Cities" partnership between the Sierra Club and the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).  The project is aimed at helping cities nationwide make green building a key component of their economic and environmental recovery efforts.

The green building tour locations include Memphis, Charlotte, Fort Collins, San Jose, Reno, Denver, Greater Milwaukee, and Augusta, Maine.  The venues range from homes, schools, business offices, municipal buildings, to supermarkets, fire stations, and low-income senior housing. (See below for details of selected tours).

"Buildings contribute nearly 40 percent of global warming emissions and consume over 70 percent of electricity use in the U.S., so they present a tremendous opportunity as we look for ways to reduce energy costs, greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution--not to mention create jobs in the emerging clean energy economy," said Glen Brand, director of the Sierra Club’s national Cool Cities program. 
"Green buildings efficiently use energy, water and other natural resources, protect the health of occupants, improve employee productivity and reduce pollution," said Aaron Lande, with USGBC’s Sustainable Cities program.  "These tours are a great way to see firsthand the realities and potential of high-performing, green building strategies."

Green buildings can reduce energy consumption by 26 percent and greenhouse gas emissions by 33 percent, compared to new structures built to conventional construction methods, according to the 2006 report "Green Building Smart Market Report" by McGraw-Hill Construction.  Investments in green buildings on average result in 6.6 percent improvement on return on investment, 8 percent reduction in operating costs, and a 7.5 percent increase in building value.  Improving the energy performance in existing buildings can reduce energy use by as much as 30 percent or 40 percent, with the ability to earn back those investments through lower utility bills over time.


Reno, NV
Tour of three buildings, including the city’s first certified Gold LEED commercial building, and green buildings on the University of Nevada, Reno campus.  Contact David von Seggren at 775-303-8461

Memphis, TN
Tour of Big River Engineering and Manufacturing, a Silver LEED retrofitted building housing a medical instruments manufacturer.  Contact Steven Sondheim at 901 761-1793.  Other TN tours include Nashville, Murfreesboro, Cookville, Crossville, Chattanooga, Knoxville, and Johnson City.

Denver and Fort Collins, CO
Tour of Denver’s Wellington Webb Municipal Office Building, a certified LEED Gold for existing building.  The Fort Collins tour will be at the Poudre Fire Authority Station #4, which is seeking LEED Gold certification.  Contact Jonah Fruchter at 303-945-1152.

San Jose, CA
Tour of the Integrated Design Associates Inc headquarters, the first commercial office building in the U.S. designed to meet a net-zero energy/ net-zero carbon emissions goal.  Contact Julio Magalhaes at 650-390-8441.
Augusta, ME
Tour of the new Hannaford’s supermarket, the world’s first LEED platinum-certified supermarket.  Contact Glen Brand at 207-272-0484.

Brookfield, WI
Tour of Environmental Systems Inc. (ESI) facility seeking Platinum LEED certification.  Contact Rosemary Wehnes at 414-828-1357.

Charlotte, NC
Tour of North Carolina's first LEED for Homes low-income, multifamily development. The 55 unit Cherry Gardens Senior Apartments is pursuing LEED for Homes Silver certification.  Contact Beth Clark at 704-575-4482.

LEED Green Building Certification
The national benchmark for green buildings is USGBC’s LEED green building certification program.  LEED provides third-party verification that a building was designed, built and is operated using strategies aimed at improving energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, indoor air quality and other building impacts on environmental and human health.

More than 4,500 buildings have achieved LEED certification, and more than 200 localities across the U.S. currently use LEED as their benchmarking tool. 
For more information on the "Green Buildings for Cool Cities" project, see and

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