The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has recognized chapters and volunteer leaders with its annual Awards of Excellence. The awards were presented during the USGBC’s Greenbuild International Conference & Expo in Chicago to chapters and individuals that excel in providing local green-building outreach and education and foster best practices within the green-building community. Chapter-award categories are Community Building and Education; chapter-leader-award categories include Green Building Community Champion, Premier Volunteer Programmer, Outstanding Emerging Professional, and Outstanding Green Advocate.

This year, the Community Building award went to the Alabama Chapter, which was recognized for launching a partnership initiative intended to connect green building to critical economic development and community work. The chapter successfully expanded its reach in the state of Alabama, securing a major green-jobs training program with the Alabama Department of Community and Economic Development, and solidified chapter relations with such local entities as Habitat for Humanity and Auburn University.

The Minnesota Chapter received the Education award for the creative restructure of its 2010 education programming. As a USGBC Education Provider, the chapter is delivering education and exam preparation to its community beyond its membership base. Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) workshop attendance has been exemplary, and the chapter is helping a neighboring chapter deliver local education. Through partnerships with the Urban Land Institute, Minnesota Association of Commercial Realtors, Minnesota Institute of Real Estate Management, and Dunwoody College, the chapter has been exposed to new audiences.

John Komisin, advocacy committee chair for the Charlotte Region Chapter, received the Green Building Community Champion award for promoting widespread adoption of green building locally. He made strides in relationships with state and local policy makers, local school officials, and retail business executives, and his revisions to the advocacy committee’s governance structure have institutionalized his achievements.

Keith Pehl, vice chair of the Charlotte Region Chapter’s advocacy won the Volunteer Programmer award. He independently organized a state advocacy day with buy-in and participation by each of the three chapters in the state of North Carolina. He planned appointments with state legislators and trained 25 volunteers for the event. Since the meetings, the Charlotte Region chapter has been contacted for input relative to the drafting of affordable housing legislation in the state.

Heather Smith, chair of the Texas Gulf Coast Chapter’s Emerging Professional (EP) committee, received the Outstanding Emerging Professional award for expanding the influence and size of her chapter’s EP committee to the chapter branches. She hosted creative events, fostered partnerships with local universities, and institutionalized the strength of the local committee through her outreach to policymakers and industry experts.

The Los Angeles Chapter’s Marc Costa received an honorable mention in the Outstanding Emerging Professional category for advancing the prominence of the chapter’s EP committee since becoming co-chair in 2009. Cited was his leadership in the local Natural Talent Design Competition, overhaul of the EP committee governance structure, establishment of a mentorship subcommittee, and encouragement of unique EP committee partnerships in the community.

The Outstanding Green Advocate award was given to Kathy Spence, a board member and advocacy committee member with the Charlotte Region Chapter for her exemplary leadership in advancing her chapter’s green-homes program in spite of the economic downturn in the homebuilding industry.

Winning chapters and chapter leaders received recognition during Greenbuild at USGBC’s annual Chapter Forum and on USGBC’s Website and were presented with an honorary plaque. Additionally, winning chapters received a monetary award from the USGBC and Milliken & Company. For more information, visit www.usgbc.org/chapters.