Mahesh Ramanujam, president and CEO of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and Green Business Certification, Inc. (GBCI), presented USGBC and GBCI's global vision and the future of the green building industry on March 27th in Austin, TX. Texas is one of the frontrunners in LEED throughout the world, with a current LEED total of 960 million square feet. Ramanujam challenges Texas to be the first state to reach a square footage of 1 billion, saying, “Green building in general and certifications like LEED are proving to be an economic driver that delivers environmental value.” LEED certified buildings are proven to consume 25% less energy and 11% less waste, while having 34% lower carbon dioxide emissions and diverting over 80 million tons of waste from landfills. With the idea that “partnership is the new leadership,” Ramanujam spoke about the next step for LEED: version 4.1. He presents LEED v4.1 as a set of upgrades that will enhance our standards, promote leadership, and make LEED more user-friendly, more accessible, and more collaborative. Ramanujam points out that the focus for LEED v4.1 is on existing buildings operations and maintenance. USGBC Texas is proud to have such a passionate leader!