Medical centers, hospitals and other healthcare facilities can get help to reduce their energy and waste costs, while creating healthier buildings for patients, now that he U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) introduced LEED for Healthcare.
The latest in the series LEED certification systems, LEED for Healthcare is the culmination of seven years of close collaboration between the Green Guide for Healthcare and USGBC. Green Guide conducted a pilot program with over 100 health care facilities, which assisted in developing the new rating system to meet the unique needs of healthcare facilities.
Hospitals in particular, have huge energy costs because they operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Hospitals use twice the energy of a typical building and spend nearly $8.8 billion on energy each year, according to US Energy Information Administration (EIA).
The healthcare industry is responsible for 16% of US GDP and 8% of total US greenhouse gas emissions, according to research published in JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association, and is second only to the food industry in the waste it generates.
Yet, the industry has been among the laggards in adopting green standards.
LEED for Healthcare covers design and construction of both new buildings and major renovations, and can be applied to inpatient, outpatient and long-term care facilities, medical offices, assisted living facilities and medical education and research centers.
USGBC members voted in favor of passing the new certification systems with an 87% approval rate. The first project certifications begin this spring.
Way to go, USGBC and GGHC!