USGBC honors leaders, unveils new building health initiative

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The US Green Building Council Northern California Chapter’s annual Super Hero Awards gala, held last Tuesday in San Francisco, honored leaders in the nonprofit, education, and government sectors for their work in generating healthy, sustainable, and responsible communities and policies. The evening highlighted achievements ranging from efficient and affordable community planning to safer chemicals use in consumer and building products to environmentally responsible corporate investment.

Dan Geiger and David Gottfried present Dr. Blum with her Superhero Award.

Dan Geiger and David Gottfried present Dr. Blum with her Superhero Award.

During the event, USGBC-NCC Executive Director Dan Geiger launched the chapter’s new Building Health Initiative, which will focus on health effects of the built environment to shift markets away from traditionally harmful materials and technologies. The initiative emphasizes the importance of including health as a design consideration, including the long-term and often uncertain heath effects of chemicals used to achieve design parameters.

Dr. Arlene Blum, our executive director, received the David Gottfried Special Achievement award “for her tenacious Green Chemistry leadership.” David Gottfried presented the award himself, reminding audience members that beauty in the world is both without and within, and emphasizing the importance of appreciating, caring for, and preserving the health of people and the environment. Dr. Blum was recognized for her many years of work towards reduction of flame retardant chemicals in consumer products, not only for contributions to recent achievements in that realm, but also for setting a model of science-informed and education-based policy that can make a difference in so many different industries today. The attendees at the gala were eager to take on the challenges of health-informed design; their passion and energy are invaluable to this work.

Our Six Classes webinar series, running now through early December, demonstrates the powerful role education can serve in this discussion of building health. In addition, our upcoming workshop will educate members of the building community about flame retardants and other harmful chemicals used in building materials and provide them with tools to spread the message to the greater community.

More information on the Superhero Awards event can be found on USGBC-NCC’s blog.

A press release detailing the announcement of the Building Health Initiative can be viewed here.

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