USGBC Finds Americans Don’t Connect Buildings with Environmental Issues

As part of its Living Standard initiative, the Washington, D.C.-based U.S. Green Building Council has released a U.S. public research report titled “Standard Issue” that sets out to better gauge how the public feels about issues at the core of the green building community’s mission: sustainability, green buildings and the environment. The report takes a closer look at Americans’ views about environmental issues and how the green building industry can be better positioned as a global solution. USGBC commissioned ClearPath Strategies to conduct qualitative and quantitative research across five regions of the U.S.

The report found that while three-quarters of respondents said environmental problems are very or somewhat important to them, they do very little to address the problems in their own lives, considering it too daunting a task.

The research also shows people want to live in a healthy environment but don’t typically associate green buildings with being part of the solution. When asked which terms most strongly relate to the environment and being green, only 11 percent said green buildings.

When considering the connection between green buildings and personal health, 32 percent indicated they have direct, personal experience with bad health associated with poor environments or living situations. In addition, when ranking how healthy their local environment is on a scale of one to 10, 65 percent gave it less than an eight.

The research suggests there is a gap between the enormity of the problem and how people seek to address it in their daily lives, and that the green building community can mobilize and inspire change by connecting messaging to healthy outcomes for human beings.

“When people think about emissions, they think about cars, power plants and industries. They rarely think about buildings, leaving the green building community with a messaging mountain to climb,” says Mahesh Ramanujam, USGBC’s president and CEO. “We are not reaching the broader population effectively enough to change their behavior or decisions on the scale necessary to combat climate-related risks.”

Visit the website to learn more, join the initiative and submit stories. USGBC will be releasing additional research reports quarterly in 2019, each with a particular issue and regional focus.

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