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Climate Change in the American Mind

According to the Yale Program on Climate Communication, “drawing on a nationally representative survey (n = 1,037), this report describes Americans’ beliefs and attitudes about global warming. The survey was fielded from March 18 – 29, 2021. This report builds on two previous reports based on data from this same survey that focused on public support for U.S. domestic climate policy and public support for international climate action.”

Among the key findings of this report:

  • Americans who think global warming is happening outnumber those who think it is not happening by a ratio of more than 4 to 1 (70% versus 15%).
  • Those who are “very” or “extremely” sure global warming is happening outnumber those who are “very” or “extremely” sure it is not by more than 5 to 1 (50% versus 9%).
  • More than half of Americans (57%) understand that global warming is mostly human-caused. Three in ten (30%) think it is due mostly to natural changes in the environment.

For a copy of the full report, click here.

DOE Announces $72 Million For Small Business Research and Development

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced $72 million in funding for small businesses to pursue scientific, clean energy, and climate research, development, and demonstration projects. The funding will support 296 projects across 44 states and addresses multiple topic areas, such as renewable energy, nuclear energy, cybersecurity, advanced materials and manufacturing, microelectronics, and artificial intelligence. DOE’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) awards aim to transform science and technology breakthroughs into viable products and services that can be utilized by the American people and across all sectors of the nation’s economy.   

Global Adoption of WELL in Sustainable Finance

In light of the staggering increase in the volume of Sustainability-Linked Loans (SLLs) and the rapid evolution in the incorporation of ESG principles into deal documentation, the Loan Market Association (LMA), Asia Pacific Loan Market Association (APLMA), and Loan Syndications & Trading Association (LSTA) updated the Sustainability- Linked Loan Principles in May 2022 to reflect emerging market trends, which also aligns with ICMA’s Sustainability Linked Bond Principles.

The Green Bond Principles (GBP), the Social Bond Principles (SBP), the Sustainability Bond Guidelines (SBG) and the Sustainability-Linked Bond Principles (SLBP) have become the leading framework globally for the issuance of sustainable bonds.

BREEAM V7 Scheduled for 2024 Release

BREEAM Version 7 focuses  on updating whole life carbon and energy credits, and will be applied to New Construction, In-Use, and Refurbishment and Fit Out. Some benefits of V7 will include:

    • Tracking a building’s progress toward Net Zero Carbon
    • Enhancing whole-life carbon performance measurement
    • Using embodied carbon and operational energy benchmarks
    • Identifying and addressing performance gaps across the building’s life cycle
    • Understanding asset alignment with decarbonisation pathways

Canada Fires and Air Quality

Indoor air quality is once again a topic of discussion as Canada’s wildfires blanketed New York City and the Northeast in an apocalyptic thick yellow haze this week.

Wildfires are not a new phenomenon and have disproportionately impacted the West Coast for years. But record heat, dry vegetation, and drought globally — all part of growing climate concerns — have sparked renewed interest in creating standards that ensure safer air indoors by experts.  Per Joseph Allen, “the building is defending people inside from the outdoor air pollution.”

Greenhouse Reduction Fund

The Inflation Reduction Act authorized EPA to implement the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GGRF), a historic $27 billion investment to mobilize financing and private capital to combat the climate crisis and ensure American economic competitiveness. The GGRF will deliver lower energy costs and economic revitalization to communities, particularly those that have historically been left behind.

The fund was developed to deliver the benefits of reduced GHG emissions to American communities, particularly low-income and disadvantaged communities.

National Healthy Homes Month

This month (June) U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) kicks off activities for this year’s National Healthy Homes Month (NHHM), an annual campaign highlighting the direct link between housing quality and residents’ health.

National Healthy Homes Month serves to educate families and communities about the importance of creating and maintaining a healthy home by addressing home-based hazards, including reducing moisture and mold, improving ventilation, controlling pests, and maintaining indoor air quality.

New Ventilation Standards

Recently, both the CDC and ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers) released new health-based ventilation targets following decades of work.  According to Joseph Allen, Associate Professor at Harvard and Director of Harvard Healthy Buildings Program, “this is a massive step forward toward advancing the healthy buildings era for all.”

According to the CDC,  “Building owners and operators can take steps to improve ventilation and help prevent respiratory illnesses from spreading in indoor spaces.”


LEED and WELL Dual Certification

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) has expanded their strategic partnership to accelerate the adoption of buildings that prioritize people, communities and the natural environment. The partnership will focus on streamlining the process for achieving dual WELL and LEED certifications signaling that sustainability and health should not be separate pursuits. It also reinforces organizational objectives such as elevating equity in the built environment and opening up new sources of capital for green and healthy buildings.
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