Wednesday, December 17, 2008

USGBC hires director to run growing NJ chapter

The New Jersey chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council, which has seen its membership mushroom to 770 individuals and 650 companies since it started out in 2002, has outgrown its volunteer-based member management and hired an executive director to oversee its programs and future growth.

Florence Block, who had served as president of the Morris County Chamber of Commerce, was introduced to the membership at a packed holiday gala event Monday night in Princeton.

A proud USGBC-NJ Chairman Andy Topinka told the group that Block's appointment capped an "exhilarating" year for the state chapter which last year had set a goal of becoming the "go to" organization in the state for green building. Since then, he said, the New Jersey chapter has spoken at more than a hundred meetings, conferences and trade shows through its 50-member speakers bureau and had raised its visibility with a 30-second public service announcement broadcast on NJ Network.

Block said she was "proud and humbled" to be selected to manage such a dynamic organization in a field that promised significant energy savings and environmental benefits to the public.

In addition to her Chamber of Commerce experience, Block has a 25-year background in New Jersey corporate real estate management and office planning industries, including service as Senior Vice President of Project Management for Trammel Crow.

The USGBC is the national organization responsible for developing LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), a voluntary green building rating system establishing
criteria for sustainable buildings.

According to the organization, LEED standards addresses all building types, including new construction, commercial interiors, core and shell, operations and maintenance, homes, neighborhoods and specific applications such as retail, college campuses, schools, health care facilities, laboratories and lodging.

LEED standards are becoming familiar benchmarks in numerous "green building" bills that have been popping up in the New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York legislatures, as well as in other states.

The association's membership includes architects, designers, engineers, real estate developers, green materials and equipment suppliers, construction contractors and companies and individuals in many other sectors. Members attend educational and networking events throughout the year that are offered by the chapter's three regional branches.

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