The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has announced a major research commitment covering energy and water security; global climate change prevention;
The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has announced a major research commitment covering energy and water security; global climate change prevention; indoor environmental quality; and, passive survivability in the face of natural and man-made disasters. The $1 million research pledge reflects a commitment to advancing a sustainable built environment within a generation, notes USGBC President and CEO Rick Fedrizzi. The industry needs to take giant steps forward in construction, renovation and operation practices if we want to see large-scale improvements to health and environmental conditions in this generation, he affirms. Our board has identified research as a key strategy and set aside dollars so we can act now, even while encouraging others to increase their own research commitments.
Research will help us advance the practice of building science, adds USGBC Board Member Vivian Loftness of Carnegie Mellon University. It should also track and validate as quickly as possible the profound connection between green buildings and human health and productivity. We sense this connection intuitively, and we’re beginning to have some astonishing data about fewer absences in schools, greater productivity and fewer injuries in business, even higher sales in retail environments. We need research that proves the business case so profoundly that an organization’s commitment to building green becomes the easiest and best operational decision they can make.
USGBC’s commitment comes on the heels of its recently published Green Building Research Funding: An Assessment of Current Activity in the United States, which found that research related to high-performance green building practices and technologies is underfunded by all sectors. Using this work as its basis, the USGBC Research Committee will publish a national green building research agenda this fall that identifies key research areas for advancing building performance and market transformation.
Building operation consumes 40 percent of energy and 71 percent of the electricity in the U.S., and accounts for 39 percent of the country’s carbon dioxide emissions, says USGBC Vice President of Research and Education Peter Templeton. It’s critical that the building sector makes exponential performance improvements and research, development and deployment activities a top priority.
Templeton said that catalyzing and disseminating fundamental and applied research is part USGBC’s leadership role in the green building community. The new research dollars are intended to be matching commitments, putting in place a mechanism that can leverage even greater funding for priority studies. Further details about the structure of the fund and application for grant dollars are being developed and will be announced later this summer.