Google donates to green building initiatives

November 15, 2012

Google is putting its money where its mouth is. The search engine is donating a $3 million grant to the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). The announcement was made at the agency's annual Greenbuild International Conference and Expo.

According to the USGBC, the grant will be used to accelerate the creation of healthier indoor structures. Experts from the USGBC will use the funds to encourage market transformations in the building materials industry by supporting research on building materials and their impact on health.

"Healthy, non-toxic building materials are a critical component in green building," said Rick Fedrizzi, President, CEO & Founding Chair, U.S. Green Building Council. "Fostering awareness of the materials we put into our buildings is of paramount importance, since many materials can link to a host of environmental and health issues. Working with Google enables us to broaden our efforts in the materials industry as we prepare for the next version of the LEED green building program, LEED v4. This updated rating system will paint a more complete picture of materials and products, enabling project teams to make more informed decisions."

In addition, the organization hopes to use to the money to develop new transparency tools and engage crucial stakeholders from the variety of sectors of the construction industry. By focusing on improving the materials used in commercial and residential construction, experts hope to reduce the negative health effects that can occur from exposure.

According to the American Physical Society, Americans spend about 90 percent of their time indoors. Installing structures with health-friendly materials could drastically improve the health of people young and old.

"This grant is designed to improve human health and well-being by supporting more industry research and better standards around healthy materials," Google said in a released statement.

Google and the USGBC are not the only organizations focusing on improving the quality of building standards to improve health. The Energy Efficient Buildings Hub (EEB Hub) in greater Philadelphia was established by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) as an Energy-Regional Innovation Cluster with the dual mission of improving energy efficiency in buildings and promotes regional economic growth.

Perhaps the $3 million grant Google dedicated to the USGBC's efforts to improve building material quality will help facilitate the creation of new technologies used in future energy efficient buildings.