Healthcare and hospital facilities

Healthcare is a potentially large market that is still in early stages of development. As of early 2007, less than 3 percent of the LEED-registered projects represented medical or healthcare facilities. The first LEED-certified healthcare project, Boulder, Colorado, Community Foothills Hospital came on line in 2003, rated at LEED Silver. For that project, there were no water-conservation savings and only 30 percent energy savings, but considerable attention to attaining Indoor Environmental Quality and Materials credits. Currently available are the Green Guide for Healthcare (GGHC).20 The guidelines cover both construction and ongoing operations, similar to the LEED-NC and LEED-EB standards. Even though GGHC version 2.2 was released in 2007, it is not a formal rating system. As a result, more healthcare facilities are embracing LEED certification because it is the most recognizable brand in the marketplace.21

However, what is clear is that architects and facility owners (85 percent of healthcare facilities are owned by nonprofits) have a strong stake in creating healthier environments for doctors, staff and patients. Some larger owners of multiple healthcare facilities, such as Kaiser Permanente in California, have already aggressively begun to address green building and green operations issues.22

Table 5.5 shows some of the major drivers that are forcing green building considerations into healthcare projects, led by the need to save money on operations.

Therefore, this market bears watching; if your firm is already active in the healthcare market, it would be wise to start paying attention to these guidelines and making them part of your approach to hospitals, clinics and medical offices. Healthcare is a $33 billion annual construction market, more than four times the religious or public safety markets, almost 75 percent the size of

Table 5.5 Drivers for green buildings and operations in healthcare

1. Economic return on energy and water-efficiency investments


Protection against future increases in energy prices through peak shaving, thermal energy storage

and other demand-reduction measures


Consistency with the health and healing mission these institutions


Economic gain from faster healing (and quicker discharge) of patients who have views to the

outdoors and healing gardens on premises


Public relations benefits, considering the many stakeholders in the hospital and healthcare



Health benefits to the workforce from use of less toxic chemicals in facilities


Recruitment and retention of key employees (nurses and skilled practitioners)

8. Evidence-based healthcare should be evidenced in green buildings!

► 5.8 In addition to aiming for LEED-NC Silver certification, the Luma building designed by Williams and Dame in conjunction with Gerding Edlen, will be part of an environmentally friendly, high-density, pedestrian-oriented development in Los Angeles' South Park neighborhood. Courtesy of Gerding Edlen.

the office building market, and about nearly half the size of the education market. As a large and growing green building market segment, it deserves careful attention from design firm marketers.

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