Imagine being in an office where toxic chemicals are contained in desks, carpets, ceiling tiles, and paint. Many people are unaware of potentially toxic chemicals around them, and the absence of clear and accessible information only facilitates their lack of knowledge.
Google seeks to rectify this issue. The US Green Building Council (USGBC) has received a $3 million grant from Google to make building material ingredients transparent the average citizen. This grant, the first of its kind, has the potential to transform the building material industry.
The USGBC was responsible for spearheading the successful, and now widely adopted, LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating system. 9.3 billion square feet in 50 US states and 138 countries have been LEED certified. Google’s grant will allow the USGBC to expand upon their previous experience and knowledge base to conduct more industry research, eventually leading to community awareness and higher standards for building materials.
The grant will focus on three areas: studying the effects of building materials on health, developing tools to make ingredients transparent to consumers and businesses, and obtaining industry-wide stakeholder buy-in.
If all goes according to plan, the consumer may end up with data about every building material ingredient out there and would know exactly how these products impact their health. This would not only lead to a better informed population, but, potentially, a healthier one.