The U.S. Green Building Council announced the recipients of the 2014 Leadership Awards. According to the organization, the awards celebrate the individuals and groups at the forefront of sustainability in the built environment.

“As the green building movement continues to grow throughout the world, it is even more important to recognize the leaders who set the bar for others and who are always pushing the envelope toward a sustainable future,” said Rick Fedrizzi, CEO and founding chair of USGBC. “We are proud to recognize our Leadership Award recipients for their commitment to our mission and to their contributions to advancing our industry.”

This year’s 2014 USGBC Leadership Award recipients include:

Christine Ervin, president and CEO of Christine Ervin Company, is being recognized for her work advocating for the growth of LEED and the green building movement. Ervin served as the first president and CEO of USGBC and has been an influential voice in the green building community.

David Orr is a Paul Sears distinguished professor of environmental studies and politics and senior advisor to the president at Oberlin College. He is also a James Marsh professor at the University of Vermont, an established author, and environmentalist. Orr has been active in many areas of environmental studies and serves as the executive director of the Oberlin Project, a joint effort of the City of Oberlin, Oberlin College, and private and institutional partners to improve the resilience, prosperity, and sustainability of the community. Orr also serves on the advisory board of the Center for Green Schools at USGBC.

The Honorable Jim DeCesare, Kentucky State Representative, serves District 21 in the Kentucky House of Representatives and is currently serving as the co-chair of the Kentucky Green Schools Caucus. DeCesare has been a proponent of green schools in Kentucky, leading a bipartisan effort to unanimously adopt resolutions in support of green schools. His efforts helped Kentucky become the home of the nation’s first net-zero school.

Lloyd Alter, managing editor of, is an architect, developer, and inventor. He is well known within the sustainability community as a prolific writer and editor and serves as a vocal champion on the importance of sustainability in the built environment. Alter is also an adjunct professor at Ryerson University School of Interior Design.

Tom Paladino, founder and CEO of Paladino and Company, is a recognized leader in sustainability and an advocate of proving the business case for green building. He has played a role in the development of LEED since its inception, with his firm most recently serving as technical editors of the LEED v4 reference guides. Paladino has served as the vice chair of the USGBC Board and co-chair of the LEED Steering Committee. As a former chair of the Seattle AIA Committee on the Environment, Paladino helped found the City of Seattle Sustainable Building Task Force, a regional initiative that ultimately led to the adoption of LEED by the City of Seattle, the first city in the country to do so.

The Near Westside Initiative, Inc. (NWSI) is this year’s recipient of the Mayor Richard M. Daley Legacy Award for Global Leadership in Creating Sustainable Cities. NWSI is a not-for-profit organization started by Syracuse University and The Gifford Foundation. Syracuse University’s School of Architecture and Center of Excellence also play pivotal roles in the project. NWSI has established the Syracuse Art, Literacy, Technology (SALT) District of the Near Westside as a creative community to foster economic development, jobs, and stability for the neighborhood and rich academic experiences for the students.

Mars, Inc. is the recipient of the Ray Anderson Radical Industrialism Award. Mars’ Sustainability in a Generation (SiG) program is designed to minimize the impacts of its operations on the environment. The company’s goal is to pursue absolute reductions in energy usage across their system using the best available scientific data. A strong supporter of LEED, the SiG program has heavily influenced how it builds, designs, and manages its operations, making it an ideal recipient of this award sponsored by the Ray C. Anderson Foundation in memory of the leader of Interface, Inc.

USGBC’s 2014 Leadership Awards will be presented at the Leadership Awards Luncheon on Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014, during the Greenbuild International Conference and Expo at the Morial Convention Center in New Orleans.