The session “VA Hospitals on the Sustainable Road—Green Globes or Bust!” was presented by Jane Rohde, FIIDA, AIA, AAHID, ACHA, LEED AP, at the HEALTHCARE DESIGN.11 Conference in Nashville.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) hospital system is moving through an amazing transformation period. Not only has the VA committed to creating environments based upon person-centered care models with Planetree (information available at www.planetree.org) for improvement of patient, resident, and staff outcomes, but the VA is also fully implementing sustainable benchmarking with the Green Building Initiative’s new electronic-based survey tool: Green Globes Continual Improvement for Existing Buildings for Healthcare (CIEB-HC) (information available at www.thegbi.org).
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In 2009, the VA began its sustainability journey with the Green Building Initiative. Twenty-one VA hospitals from across the country were involved in a pilot program as a sustainable investment in benchmarking and continual improvement. These hospitals utilized the Green Globes CIEB online survey for evaluation of current operations and physical plant.
The Green Globes CIEB program helps establish performance baselines, best practices, and certification for operations and maintenance of a building in the environmental assessment areas of energy, water, resource management, and emissions and pollutant controls. The fully interactive, Web-enabled tool allows facility personnel to measure, document, and improve the sustainability of a building over time.
Each hospital upon completion of the survey proceeded to the stage of third-party assessment for certification. I was the third-party assessor that had the true pleasure of working with the hospitals, each including a unique and wonderful group of dedicated staff members who were creatively evaluating the physical plant impacts on the environment. The following are just a few of the creative ideas that were discussed while completing assessments: