On May 15, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) testified before Congress on the potential for green buildings to help remedy global climate change. Michelle Moore, senior vice president of policy and public affairs for the Washington, D.C.–based nonprofit, spoke before chairman Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming.

Moore stressed the importance of green building practices in school construction—the largest construction sector in the country—and the retrofitting of existing building stock to meet green standards.

"Every new building coming out of the ground today should be built green, and every existing building should be retrofitted, whether it is an office building, a school, or your own home," Moore said. "Buildings offer an immediate, measurable solution for mitigating climate change, and we don't have time to wait." In the United States, Moore pointed out, buildings account for 39 percent of carbon dioxide emissions.

Other speakers at the hearing were actor Edward Norton, who is a trustee of Enterprise Community Partners, a nonprofit that promotes affordable housing; San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom; Kent Peterson, president of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE); and Tony Stall of Dryvit Systems. All testified while sitting in environmentally friendly, recycled-material chairs.