The Building Health Initiative held its inaugural Building Health Forum, bringing together 300 of the world’s experts and thought leaders for keynotes, educational sessions, tours and networking receptions at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) last month.
The event was organized by the Building Health Initiative, creation of the U.S. Green Building Council’s Northern California Chapter (USGBC-NCC) that brings together more than 40 commercial building owners, technology giants, healthcare professionals, design/engineering firms, product manufacturers, and nonprofits—from Adobe and Google to Kaiser Permanente.
“A healthy environment can be a catalyst for innovation, productivity and the overall well-being of the people who work there,” said the initiative’s Bill Weihl, who also serves as Facebook’s infrastructure, sustainability, and efficiency director. “We have focused on collaboration and open source to drive progress in developing better infrastructure, hardware, and buildings—not just for our employees, but for all communities. This new initiative will help us continue our efforts toward building healthy environments at scale.”
The group’s efforts include:
- requesting greater transparency from architects and manufacturers about the chemicals used in their products;
- employing collective market influence to create demand for products that improve the health of the built environment;
- recruiting and retaining the best workforce by providing healthy and productive workplaces; and
- increasing awareness of healthy environments in buildings.
Partner companies participating in the Building Health Initiative have made specific pledges in a defined area where they could affect the most change, such as demanding transparency in building materials, conducting groundbreaking research, promoting health and wellness, or improving consultation and education.
“We’re building the ‘business case’ for healthy buildings,” said Brian Back, the group’s senior vice president. “This is a rare opportunity to foster widespread collective impact on an issue that resonates deeply with people. Both on Silicon Valley tech campuses and in underserved low-income communities across Northern California, our overriding purpose is to reframe green building as a health issue.”
For more information, visit build-health.org.