Perhaps one of the most remarkable things that healthcare architects and engineers are contributing to the industry—besides designing great healthcare spaces —are insightful research initiatives that are providing valuable data and design guidelines, particularly in the realm of sustainable design. 

While such ventures are numerous, here are a few which stand out as making notable contributions to the future of sustainable healthcare building. 

Targeting 100!
Spearheaded by NBBJ and the University of Washington's Integrated Design Lab, the first phase of this well-researched report (detailed in Healthcare Design's December 2010 issue) outlines design strategies to enable hospitals to reduce their energy use by 60% with little to no investment. 

After receiving a U.S. Department of Energy grant last year, the group is currently expanding its research beyond the Pacific Northwest to five additional cities and climate zones to develop climate-specific models to achieve that same 60% reduction in energy consumption. 

Already adopted by a number of organizations including the American Institute of Architects and Payette, the Boston-based architecture firm, along with the Boston Society of Architects, recently brought in the IDL research group to Bean Town for a presentation and panel discussion titled “Targeting 100!: How Healthcare Can Meet the 2030 Challenge.”


Green Patient Lab 3.0
Originally debuting as a traveling exhibit space, this patient room mock-up has served as an idea and research demonstration of green materials and technologies, as readily applied to a hospital patient room.

Originally conceived by Anshen+Allen, now a part of Stantec, and the International Facility Management Association Healthcare Council, more than three dozen partners—mostly building product manufacturers—have contributed to the initiative’s success, including Mazzetti Nash Lipsey Burchand Skanska.


HKS Center for Advanced Design Research & Evaluation (CADRE)
With a number completed and ongoing research initiatives, often in collaboration with universities and hospitals, CADRE’s goal is study the impact of architectural and engineering solutions on occupant well-being, user effectiveness, operational performance, and sustainability of the built environment in healthcare. 

Examples of such research areas include nurse walking distances, patient handling by caregivers, positive distractions in waiting areas, and inpatient unit decentralization impacts. 

For more, see a January 2011 Healthcare Design interview with CADRE president Tom Harvey, FAIA, MPH, FACHA, LEED AP, senior vice president, HKS, and former HKS vice president Debajyoti Pati, PhD, FIIA, LEED AP.