Schools are Big Winners in USGBC Awards of $2M in Research Grants

Schools are Big Winners in USGBC Awards of $2M in Research Grants

Research projects on the effects of lighting, green building attributes and ventilation on K-12 students will receive the lion’s share of $2 million in grants this year from the Green Building Research Fund of the U.S. Green Building Council.

The three studies are among 13 proposals that were selected to receive grants and account for about $500,000 of the $2 million awarded. In all, 254 pre- and full proposals were submitted for consideration.

"We've identified an enormous need for green building research," USGBC President, CEO and Founding Chair Rick Fedrizzi said in a statement announcing the grant recipients this week. "The research grants are part of USGBC's commitment to better understand what is working and what more can be done, which will inform USGBC's programs and the entire building industry." 

In addition to the grants provided by the USGBC, the Research Fund generated $1,150,825 in matching money and leveraged related activities and partnerships, the council said.

The largest USGBC grant was $249,998 awarded to a research team from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York, Brown University in Rhode Island and its medical school to study the effect of daylight and electrical lighting on student alertness, performance and well-being in K-12 schools. The team also is to receive $251,636 in matching funds from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and the National Institutes of Health.

A research team from the New York State Department of Health in partnership with the Education Department, United Teachers and the Asthma Initiative for New York State and the Bureau of Occupational Health was selected for a $150,000 grant to study the effects of green building attributes on the health and performance of students and teachers. The New York State Department of Health is giving the team a matching grant of $142,919.

The third team looking into green building issues and school-age populations is made up of researchers from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California in partnership with the California Energy Commission and PureChoice Inc. of Minnesota. Awarded a $100,000 grant, the project seeks to put facts and figures to the relationship between classroom ventilation and student performance on standardized tests in elementary schools. The team plans to use existing monitoring technology to carry out its research and expand an Energy Commission study.  The commission's project seeks to quantify the association of ventilation rates with elementary school absenteeism and estimate the costs and benefits of changing ventilation standards.

The other research projects receiving grants include work to create a green roof energy calculator; devise a searchable database that helps hospitals and other healthcare facilities quantify the effects of eco-friendly design and building strategies on patient care, financial performance and other operations; increase the reuse of building materials to reduce waste; and improve stormwater and building water management.