Excerpts adapted from the session “Healthy Hospitals: Boston Green Building Initiatives,” presented April 20, 2006, at CleanMed 2006 in Seattle
Health Care Without Harm (HCWH) continues to collaborate with a number of leading Greater Boston healthcare capital projects on high-performance green design and construction. These include Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston Children's Hospital, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Beverly Hospital, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, and Massachusetts General Hospital.
In September 2004, HCWH and Rocky Mountain Institute organized “Design for Health: Summit for Massachusetts Healthcare Decision Makers” at the Massachusetts Medical Society's conference center. Attendees included more than 100 leading hospital decision makers. The primary goal of the Summit was to bring the decision makers together to discuss the arguments for and evidence supporting “healthy green design, construction, operations, and maintenance,” and to brainstorm initiatives and implementation strategies to achieve healthier hospitals. The Green Guide for Health Care, a voluntary, self-certifying system, was highlighted throughout the Summit. The Green Guide is tailored specially for the healthcare sector and modeled with permission after the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED rating system.
Massachusetts General Hospital's Yawkey Center for Outpatient Care in Boston.
After the Summit, the hospitals mentioned above registered for the Green Guide pilot and today see themselves as leaders in creating high-performance healing environments. HCWH believes that the Summit back in 2004 “seeded” the healthcare sector in Massachusetts for accomplishing that.
The Howard Ulfelder Healing Garden at the Yawkey Center for Outpatient Care.
As one of the examples, The Massachusetts General Hospital's Yawkey Center for Outpatient Care (figure 1), which opened in the summer of 2005, was originally designed several years ago, before the release of the Green Guide, so we looked at this project as a transitional building for sustainable design. For one thing, the designers made a strong effort at daylighting, so instead of planning a high, square building, they flattened it out and stretched it so that it pulls the daylight farther into the building. Interestingly, when the Massachusetts General Hospital (Partners Healthcare System) representatives attended the 2004 Boston Summit, the Yawkey Center was two-thirds through construction. When they left the Summit, they decided that they wanted to incorporate additional green features to bring the building another step closer to sustainable design. On the eighth-floor roof, they built a magnificent outdoor healing garden (figure 2) adjacent to the oncology department (there is also an interior garden space for use when the weather is inclement).
The Howard Ulfelder Healing Garden is designed as a place of respite, a meditation space if you will, with teak furniture and many plants (figure 3). There is virtually no noise there, so when people leave the oncology department with serious things to think about—radiation, chemotherapy, etc.—they have a space to visit with their families in relative solitude.