David Gottfried

Environmentalist and Founder of U.S. and World Green Building Council

David Gottfried Fee Range
$10,001 to $20,000
(Inquire for virtual fee)

Travels From
California, United States

David Gottfried Speaker Biography

Environmentalist and Founder of U.S. and
World Green Building Council

David Gottfried is known as the father of the global green building movement:  founding both the U.S. Green Building Council and World Green Building Councils (with GBCs in over 100 countries). The GBC movement has likely reduced global warming and ecological footprint more than any other organizations in the world. Gottfried’s work started a global industry with hundreds of thousands of green buildings and accredited professionals in more than half of the world’s countries: a trillion dollar market.

Green Technology Entrepreneur

Gottfried serves as the CEO of Regenerative Ventures and Gottfried Institute. The companies help accelerate commerce and adoption of advanced greentech and health products and methodologies. Representative past clients include: Dreamworks, Starbucks, Genentech, Apple, Stanford University, the State of California and the government of China. Gottfried Institute is the owner of Reset360 brand of products and promotes the books and work of Dr. Sara Gottfried MD, a 3-time New York Times bestselling author and global functional medicine authority.

Career and Education

David Gottfried had previous tenures as a real estate developer and construction manager, and has served as a strategic adviser to over a hundred global organizations over the past 30 years. Gottfried’s degree is in Engineering and Resource Management from Stanford University.


David Gottfried has received numerous leadership awards, including the WorldGBC Global Green Building Entrepreneurship Award [now given out annually in Gottfried’s name], USGBC’s Leadership Award and the USGBC Northern California Chapter’s Super Hero Award. He was inducted into the Green Industry Hall of Fame and named to the Purpose Economy 100 for his pioneering work.


Gottfried is a global keynote speaker and the author of three influential books including the award winning bestseller Explosion Green. He also wrote Greening My Life and Greed to Green.

Gottfried is a modern art painter having exhibited in shows throughout the Bay Area. Gottfried’s former residence was the highest rated LEED Platinum home in the world. He lives in Berkeley California with his wife and two daughters and is an avid cyclist.

David Gottfried Speaking Topics

The New World of Green™

Global transformational change in how we conduct business, make products and manage our organizations is undergoing explosive growth. This societal cultural change is fueled by understanding and embracing the principles of sustainability and life-cycle value. The core of value includes efficient use of precious resources, environmental restoration and protecting our health. The results are tremendous: increased profitability for our businesses, personal lives and the planet. The building industry is leading the charge towards sustainability through creation of green buildings. The catalyst of this leadership is the nation’s fastest growing industry coalition, the U.S. Green Building Council, now with 13,000 organizational members. USGBC’s LEED® Rating System is now being used by over 3.5 billion square feet, in 15,000 projects, representing more than 10% of the market. David Gottfried will share global insight, stories, experience and inspiration from his personal “greening” journey on these life-changing trends of sustainability and present his vision in the context of “green” as our new world and the essence of value.

The GBC (Green Building Council) Story™

Paul Hawken writes, “I have said that if this movement towards a green and just world is to succeed, it will be because we will build a more interesting sandbox for everyone to play in. That is what David did: He founded and helped build the most important green trade organization in the world. There is virtually no second place. Thousands of people and companies are playing inside it, creating the best standards in the world. Nothing compares with the growth, magnitude, and import of the U.S. Green Building Council. No organization has had a bigger impact on the environment than this one in terms of energy and materials saved, toxins eliminated, greenhouse gases avoided, and human health enhanced. And it is just beginning.” Now with 13,000 organizational members and 72 chapters, the USGBC has been called the fastest growing non-profit in the world, and amongst the top five most important. The organization’s LEED® Rating System is now being used by over 3.5 billion square feet, in 15,000 projects, representing more than 10% of the market. Over 100 cities are mandating LEED, along with dozens of state and federal government agencies. USGBC’s Greenbuild conference is now the largest green building conference in the world, with 25,000 people in attendance at Greenbuild Chicago in 2007. The World Green Building Council (www.worldgbc.org) was first conceived by David Gottfried in 1998, with the founding of the world’s second council, the Japan Green Building Council. Today, WorldGBC’s union of GBC’s is comprised of approximately a dozen country members, each with an established green building council. Additional GBC’s are being formed in another 30 countries. In this inspiration talk, David Gottfried will share the need, vision and fascinating stories of his founding of the USGBC and WorldGBC. These organizations have established the foundation for the greening of the global building industry, the world’s largest. The GBC story shows how one can not only change the world, but also build a movement – one that will determine the future of society.

The Eight Steps of Transformation™

Achieving transformation of an industry, organization, or one’s own life is a hard thing to accomplish. As one embarks on this sacred journey, so many questions emerge: •How does one define transformation? •What are the key steps? •Where does one start? •Are there established methods? •Is the stick or the carrot more important? •What do I do when I’m stuck? •What are the key organizations leading the charge? •Where does one go for inspiration? •How do I transform my own life? David Gottfried will present his eight-step program to achieve transformation. The steps were developed based on Gottfried’s 15 years of experience in founding and helping direct the U.S. and World Green Building Councils. The program is applicable to all of us, in our work and personal lives. It also helps transform our organizations, industries and countries. Gottfried unique experience and inspiring stories span all of these levels.

Green Life 101™

“We must be the change we wish to see in the world” -- Gandhi In 2000, David Gottfried had his second epiphany*, the imperative of greening his own life. He realized that “green” needed to go deeper than just creating LEED® Platinum buildings, or driving a Toyota Prius: it had to penetrate one’s heart, way of living and associated impact. Gottfried then understood that if we are to green the world, we each need to first green ourselves and own individual spheres of influence. Reliance on green-technology is just not enough. Gottfried’s next step upon this realization was to invent his own personal green rating system, nicknamed “LEED-Life”. It’s a 100-point, ten category individually tailored rating system inspired by LEED. The rating system categories are very broad, spanning the areas of health, work-life, financial, social, contentment, eco-footprint, and life’s summing up. In this unique emotionally inspiring and moving talk, Gottfried will share his second epiphany and its impetus, and then proceed to guide the audience through his development and the importance of using his Green Life Rating System (Green Life 101). The system provides a map, compass and direction for all of us to continue and advance in this life-changing journey. (1) David Gottfried’s first epiphany was in 1992, upon recognition of his need to help transform the U.S. building industry towards sustainability. This vision lead to Gottfried’s creation of the U.S. Green Building Council, and later, in 1998, the World Green Building Council.

BuildMove: How to build a movement and create legacy

David Gottfried Books

Greening My Life: A Green Building Pioneer Takes on His Most Challenging Project
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Explosion Green: One Man’s Journey To Green The World’s Largest Industry
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Greed to Green
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David Gottfried Videos

David Gottfried Speaker Testimonials

"David Gottfried is the "Father of the Green Movement." He started the U.S. Green Building Council in the U.S. and then took it around the world. He is a wonderful and inspiring spokesperson for the environmental movement."

- | Art Gensler, Chairman, Gensler

"David Gottfried is indeed, a pioneer, having led the way into the uncharted territory of environmentally responsible construction ...His legacy is here to stay..."

- | Ray C. Anderson; Founder & Chair; Interface, Inc.

David Gottfried is a real estate developer, entrepreneur, and sustainability guru. He provides a great speech. David gave one of the most moving and inspirational talks to the Leadership Summit on Sustainable Design in San Francisco and he was a featured speaker with Dan Pink not so very long ago in Toronto. I think you will enjoy him: good sense of humor, relaxed, articulate, passionate, youthful. He has a fresh message."

- | James P. Cramer, Chairman & Principal, The Greenway Group

Thank you very much for speaking to our group of architects, builders,and engineers last week. Your attendance at our event brought the evening to a whole new level. Your vast experience, life accomplishments, and dynamic delivery, had the audience engaged throughout the night. I have since received many calls and e-mails commenting on your inspirational message, and the impact of your speech. We will definitely be calling you for future events."

- | Chris Avant, President, Canyon Construction

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Recent Books

Greening My Life: A Green Building Pioneer Takes on His Most Challenging Project
Purchase Book
Explosion Green: One Man’s Journey To Green The World’s Largest Industry
Purchase Book

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