USGBC Commits $1 Million to Research

June truly was a green month for those of us in summer climates — and for design.

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) announced in June it would commit $1 million to green building research. The money will be used to investigate change mitigation, the business practicalities of green building and more.

Although the USGBC hasn’t announced when the funding will be used, its research committee will release a research agenda report in fall.

Rick Fedrizzi, President, CEO and Founding Chair of USGBC, said it was the next logical step in advancing green design acceptance.

"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," Fedrizzi said. "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."

Good point. As we’ve seen in recent news items — and also, in recent Out and About blog posts — while green design may sound like a good idea in theory to many developers (who can argue against working with the environment as a basic principle?), convincing residents, developers and even, as in yesterday’s post, whole towns that green design is worth using can prove more difficult.

For one, you must convince project leaders — whose job it is to keep things at a reasonable budget — that any extra green design expenses are worth it (and in fact, that green buildings can often make that money back over time in energy and other savings).

And then there are the bonuses that are more difficult to explain. Green multi-building complexes have a number of lifestyle benefits, ranging from the relaxation foliage can offer in an urban environment to the social benefits a walking path community give its residents.

It’s encouraging to see the USGBC is pledging some serious money to make research a priority. Giving planners, architects and others who work with green design the tools to properly propose and defend green design in discussions with clients is a step we can’t skip in building sustainability’s street cred.

So hopefully, when that "should we or shouldn’t we?" conversation happens in the near future, developers and residents will find deciding to use green design is even easier.