Daily News Archive

New Green Building Guide For Hospitals Released
(Beyond Pesticides, November 23, 2004)
With the health care sector in the midst of a major construction boom, a new tool has arrived to aid hospitals in their efforts to build facilities that are healthy for people and the environment. The Green Guide for Health Care, released yesterday online at http://www.gghc.org, is the first-ever green building best-practices guide created specifically for the health care sector.

”This is the first quantifiable sustainable design toolkit for hospitals. The Green Guide for Health Care sets the standard for high performance healing environments and highlights the health benefits of green building,” said Robin Guenther, AIA, Principal of Guenther 5 Architects and Green Guide for Health Care Co-Coordinator.

The Green Guide, a voluntary self-certifying system, is the product of a two-year, multi-stakeholder development and review process, convened by the Austin, Texas-based Center for Maximum Potential Building Systems. Sponsors include the New York State Energy and Research Development Authority, Merck Family Fund, and Hospitals for Healthy Environment (H2E), a joint project of American Hospital Association, American Nurses Association, Health Care Without Harm and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Major health care facilities including Kaiser Permanente, the largest nonprofit health plan in the US, have agreed to pilot test the Green Guide over the next year.

The Green Guides organizational structure has been borrowed by agreement from the U.S. Green Building Councils LEED® rating system, modifying and adding to it to meet the needs and priorities of the health care industry. The Guide, however, is not a LEED® Rating System nor a product of the U.S. Green Building Council.

The Green Guide, in addition to being custom fit for health care facilities, explicitly addresses the health issues associated with every credit, from site selection to building materials. For instance, the Green Guide offers credits for the elimination of persistent bioaccumulative toxic chemicals (PBTs), such as mercury and dioxin, from building materials. Other credits reward energy performance within the rigorous regulatory structure of healthcare facility operations.

”The Green Guide for Health Care reflects the fundamental organizational mission of the health care industry: to protect and enhance individual and community health,” Guenther said.

More than 1,600 people have already registered to download the new pilot version of GGHC. Design and facility management teams in any stage of design, construction or operations are invited to register their projects and participate in the pilot program. Registered participants will be able to engage in the GGHC Forum, an online discussion where teams can discuss issues and exchange ideas as they work to achieve credits.

For information about the threat of pesticides in hospitals and safe and effective alternatives to toxic chemicals, see Healthy Hospitals: Controlling Pests Without Harmful Pesticides.