The Green Guide built upon this earlier ASHE document and underwent an intensive two-year, multi-stakeholder development and review process, convened by Vittori with funding from the Merck Family Fund. Vittori's goal was to create a voluntary, metric self-certification tool specific to the regulatory and performance challenges of healthcare.
In November 2003, an initial draft (Version 1.0) of the Green Guide for Health Care was made available on the Web. More than 1,200 people downloaded Version 1.0, and more than 1,000 comments were logged. “Immediately, we noticed a tremendous response to the new credits being introduced that were specific to the industry,” says Tom Lent, Healthy Building Network and Green Guide co-coordinator. “The ‘places of respite’ credit, for example, elicited extensive feedback. People grasped the importance of the operations piece and encouraged its further development and expansion. As a result of the comment-period input, Version 2.0 is stronger and more comprehensive than the initial draft,” he explains.
In November 2004, Version 2.0 Pilot was released under the sponsorship of the New York State Energy and Research Development Authority, Merck Family Fund, and Hospitals for Healthy Environment (H2E), a joint project of the American Hospital Association, the American Nurses Association, Health Care Without Harm, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The 280-page document is available for downloading at http://www.gghc.org. A print version is under development and is expected to be released this spring.
In addition to launching the document, the Green Guide Web site is sponsoring registration and tracking a wide range of Pilot projects through 2005 to test the viability of the range of sustainability strategies in Version 2.0. The Pilot participants are eligible to participate in a Web-based forum to exchange project information and experience. In the first month following the launch, approximately 2,000 registrants downloaded the Pilot document, and more than 400 design teams expressed interest in participating in the Pilot.
What's on the horizon?
Who is building “green hospitals” and why? “Without exception, the early adopters of sustainable hospital building are organizations seeking to define ‘healing environments,’ which realize that sustainable building practices are inseparable from healing environment goals,” says Walt Vernon, PE, principal of Mazzetti Associates, San Francisco.
Early adopters include Kaiser Permanente, which is building 19 hospitals and dozens of medical office buildings—some 30 million square feet of construction—over the next ten years. “The leveraging power is enormous,” says Gerwig, who was recently promoted to vice-president of Workplace Safety at Kaiser Permanente.
“We've been pioneers of sorts in testing emissions of building materials like vinyl-free resilient flooring, because the marketplace is not moving at our pace,” Gerwig adds. Kaiser Permanente was able to get its carpet manufacturer to produce a new vinyl-free carpeting product specifically geared to healthcare environments.
The market-leveraging opportunity of the healthcare sector was mentioned recently by Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino, the keynote speaker at the first-ever Design for Health Summit for Massachusetts Healthcare Decision Makers. The event drew together leaders from the state's top healthcare facilities for two days to discuss trends and opportunities in green building.
“A strong city is a healthy city, and green buildings promote health,” Menino said. “As leaders in the healthcare industry, you have the purchasing power to change the supply and demand of green materials.” HD