In addition to the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC’s) LEED certification for homes and commercial businesses, recent years have seen the advent of programs like LEED for Neighborhood Development, aimed at lessening the footprint of developments as a whole, and LEED for Core Shell, specifically designed to serve developers of commercial space building on spec.
Now the trend continues with LEED for Healthcare, a new green building rating system recently revealed by the USGBC at the CleanMed conference in Phoenix, Arizona. This rating system was created to guide the design and construction of new buildings and the renovation of existing buildings, and can be applied to inpatient, outpatient and licensed long-term care facilities, medical offices, assisted living facilities and medical education and research centers.
The LEED for Healthcare rating system represents the culmination of a collaboration between the Green Guide for Healthcare (a project of the Center for Maximum Potential Building Systems and Health Care Without Harm) and the USGBC. It was developed to address green building in the unique context of a 24-hour operational facility, including process water use related to medical equipment, rural facility locations, and the health of patient populations (often with compromised immune systems, sensitive to chemicals and pollutants), as well as a variety of other issues unique to this building type.
“Research has shown that when we are treated and heal in a green healthcare facility – one that has a healthy indoor environmental quality and connects us to the outdoors – we heal faster, have shorter hospital stays and fewer return visits,” said Scot Horst, Senior Vice President of LEED, USGBC, in a statement [PDF]. He goes on to note that the LEED for Healthcare scoring system has been six years in the making, and was developed to address the healthcare industry’s unique green building needs.
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