The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC, Washington, D.C., www.usgbc.org) today announced that it will commit $1 million to green building research. These funds will be targeted at increasing research in areas such as energy and water security; global climate change prevention; indoor environmental quality; and passive survivability in the face of natural and man-made disasters.
“Our pledge to invest $1 million in research is a reflection of USGBC’s commitment to its vision of a sustainable built environment within a generation,” said Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO and founding chair of USGBC.
“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,” said Fedrizzi. “Our board has identified research as a key strategy to accomplish that, and has set aside a pool of research 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,” said 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. The kind of research we need is that which 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 woefully 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% of energy and 71% of the electricity in the U.S., and accounts for 39% of the country’s carbon dioxide emissions, which is directly influencing global climate change,” said USGBC’s Vice President of Research and Education Peter Templeton. “Given this impact, 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 of 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.