Renewing US Green Building Council Membership

If you are thinking of renewing your membership in the US Green Building Council, you might want to factor in your decision the current changes in membership, which are about to take effect in October 1, 2012.

As of now, membership in the USGBC is limited to twelve categories: educational institutions, professional firms, and federal government among others. The yearly fee to be paid is based on the population, gross annual revenue, type, or base asset. The fee for manufacturers with revenues of over $10 billion is $300 to $12,500. There’s a variety of benefits that go with being a member, such as reduced fees for attending Greenbuild and other educational programs. Most importantly, being a national member means a discount on certification and registration fees for LEED-registered projects. This ultimately counts for a reduction of upfront LEED costs.

Now, the new membership reveals a structure in four levels: Organizational, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. The fees for each level respectively are $300, $1500, $5,000,  and $20,000. The advantages vary depending on the level. For instance, by choosing to be “less committed” and being merely in the Organizational level, you no longer get discounts on your certification fees or registration fees. This will especially impact negatively small companies who are only members at the Organizational level. For years, small companies have formed the “backbone” of the USGBC program.

This change has been met with criticism online. The reason for the change, according to conclusions and assumptions derived from the web, is the fact that LEED has gone worldwide and no longer need the support of small companies that for years would be content with being a member at the Organizational level. Another reason might be to recruit new members as fast as possible before the cutoff at October 1, 2012.

Whatever the reason is, one thing is for sure, many building owners are not happy at all.

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