The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has named Heather Joy Rosenberg, an independent sustainability consultant, as its 2014-2015 Mark Ginsberg Sustainability Fellow. In this role, she will provide thought leadership on issues of social equity and the built environment.
“This fellowship reflects USGBC's interest in digging deep into the issues around social equity,” said Rosenberg. “It builds on the great work already being done around health and on the inspiring work being done by previous fellows. It is an honor to be recognized in this way and to participate in the dialogue around these important questions.”
The Mark Ginsberg Sustainability Fellowship honors Mark Ginsberg, whose support of the LEED green building rating system during his service at the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, in its earliest days, has been instrumental to the market transformation that has been the core mission of USGBC.
One of USGBC’s seven guiding principles is to foster social equity, and that is evident in the numerous chapter projects, community engagements, and national and international policies and programs it undertakes — from the William Jefferson Clinton Children’s Center in Haiti to its partnership with Make It Right and its affordable housing initiatives in New Orleans, and dozens of others. LEED credit language itself is closely tied to the human health aspects of the built environment, and growing that to community scale is one of LEED’s ongoing efforts.
Trained in ecology and community development, Rosenberg brings a unique perspective to her work in the built environment. Her activity on policy at the city, state and national level, and on individual green building projects, has concentrated on community outreach and inclusion with specific contributions in the areas of urban agriculture, transportation services and affordable housing. With the USGBC, she was instrumental in the development of the impact categories and analytical weighting used in LEED v4, which launched in November 2013, bringing sharper focus on human health and social equity to the established environmental metrics.
“Heather’s work continues to bring to the fore crucial questions about how inclusion, community and human health are intertwined in the green building movement,” said Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO and founding chair, USGBC. “I applaud her dedication to this important work and congratulate her on becoming the next Ginsberg Sustainability Fellow.”
As a fellow, Rosenberg will continue exploring best practices around issues of social equity by creating or improving tools, metrics and approaches that make equitable outcomes attainable for a variety of project types and stakeholder groups. She will also help disseminate this valuable information to members of the green building community, as she has in her most recent white paper, Social Equity in the Built Environment: an Initial Framework and Project Examples, co-authored with former LEED Steering Committee Chair Joel Ann Todd.