Global firms such as Adobe, Google, Kaiser Permanente, ARUP and salesforce.com are among dozens of corporations and institutions that have committed to elevate green building as a public health benefit.
The organisations have signed up as founding members to the U.S. Green Building Council-Northern California Chapter (USGBC-NCC) Building Health Initiative which is designed to facilitate sharing of best practices and collaboration among a unique coalition of commercial building owners and tenants; architects, engineers and builders; building product manufacturers; legal professionals; labour and healthcare professionals and institutions, and accelerate the development of transparency standards in building materials.
Dan Geiger, executive director of USGBC-NCC, commented:
“This is the first time major corporations and institutions from multiple sectors have come together to publicly commit to improving human health through green building. Each partner has pledged to implement new organisational actions that have direct effects and generate awareness of how the built environment affects our well-being. This is a tremendous stimulus for the movement for healthy communities for all.”
Initiative advisory board member Elizabeth Baca, M.D., M.P.A., a physician engaged in policy to improve the built environment, said:
“There is a growing recognition in medicine that the built environment has significant health impacts. Physicians want to understand the underlying causes of their patients’ conditions. That’s why we ask, ‘Where do you work, live and play?’ It is imperative that the medical profession and building industries learn from one another about the health impacts of the built environment.”
As part of phase one of the initiative, Adobe, Genentech, Google and salesforce.com have pledged to develop procurement practices and processes that consider materials transparency and emerging standards such as Health Product Declarations (HPDs). In addition, Adobe will study its LEED certified workplaces to determine if they measurably contribute to more collaborative, creative, innovative and healthy employees. Other partner pledges include creating resources for affordable housing, community outreach, researching the relationship between climate change and health, educating clients and peers about health impacts of the built environment and developing Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs).
Phase two of the initiative will be a series of educational programs and events held over the next two years, including best practice sharing and inter-disciplinary programs developed with the founding partners.
Anne Stausboll, chief executive officer of CalPERS, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System organisation, which also signed up to the initiative, added:
“We are excited to be a partner in this pioneering effort to improve the health of our global communities. Acting in concert with like-minded organisations to push for the growth of communities and buildings that improve the health of those areas fits in with our own work to ensure the health of our members and their families.”
Founding partners include:
- California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS)
- Google, Inc.
- Hanson Bridgett LLP
- Kaiser Permanente
- Webcor Builders
- Wendel Rosen Black and Dean, LLP
- XL Construction
- Armstrong World Industries, Inc.
- Central Concrete Supply Co., Inc., a business unit of U.S. Concrete, Inc.
- HDR, Inc.
- Integral Group
- Interface, Inc.
- National Electrical Contractors Association & the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers
- PE International
- Swinerton Builders
- VIEW, Inc.
- City of San Francisco
- First Community Housing
- Health Begins
- Healthy Building Network
- University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine