Environmental Resilience Institute Internship Grant Reflection: Jake Barber

Internship Location: U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC)

Journal Entry #1:

My summer internship is with the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), a D.C. based nonprofit whose mission is to transform the building construction and operations sector through voluntary rating systems and market forces. Buildings account for 39% of carbon emissions and 70% of electricity usage in the United States, meaning that any sustainable transition must address buildings in order to have a substantive impact. Their flagship program, the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating system, has been used in over 90,000 projects across 165 countries and territories.

In my role as a Global Policy Intern, I am responsible for ensuring USGBC is doing its due diligence in the realm of international sustainability and relating our work to ongoing global efforts in sustainability. So far, I have worked on a series of briefs demonstrating how USGBC’s rating systems and initiatives relate to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (which will be published on the USGBC website later this summer) and researched international funding mechanisms for green schools and green public buildings. I also assisted my supervisor, Senior Policy Counsel Elizabeth Beardsley, in preparing for her June 11 testimony before the House Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management.

My work at USGBC has greatly improved my technical writing skills—something which I believe were somewhat deficient before I arrived here—and my policy research skills. Work here is extremely self-driven and requires a great deal of self-motivation and accountability, which I believe has not only allowed me to thrive, but to better prepare myself for employment after I complete my Master of Public Policy degree next year. I have also learned a great deal about sustainability in the built environment and the importance of buildings in a global sustainable transition, which has equipped me to better make an impact after I graduate. USGBC has also been extremely forthcoming with support in my efforts to become a LEED Green Associate before I finish my internship, which will allow me to better advertise my sustainability knowledge to future employers, and ensure I am familiar with the most recent developments in the field.

All in all, I have greatly enjoyed my time with USGBC, and look forward to the next month of my internship, which I hope will be filled with as many interesting challenges and fulfilling experiences as the last one!