At a session entitled "Raising the Bar in the Healthcare Sector: Diagnosing What's Next" at the recent Greenbuild 2011 conference in Toronto, I witnessed a healthy amount of good-natured jabbing between two of the panelists over what was and what was not effective in the long-awaited LEED for Healthcare ratings system. The system has had a rather long gestational period, and it was, to some degree, a surprise to hear such disagreement over it at this point.

Mara Baum, Healthcare Sustainability Design Leader for archtiectural firm HOK, and Steven Guttmann of Guttmann & Blaevoet Consulting Engineers -- and not-so-coincidentally the Chair of the LEED for Healthcare Core Committee -- disagreed about a number of points in the system. For example, Baum claimed that the guidelines for daylight and views were questionable, and perhaps a bit lacking. Despite the fact that the pair were quick to point out that LEED for Healthcare is a positive thing for the industry, it was clear to the audience that there was still a lot about the system that could be improved upon. Tweaks are, of course, part of the process with rating systems in general, but it left me wondering if perhaps the system was launched before it was fully baked.

So now that it has been in place for a number of months, how do you feel about LEED for Healthcare? Is it comprehensive? Are there still great improvements to be made? Is this a great first step in greening the healthcare space, or do we still have a long way to go? Is it too early to tell whether this system will be effective -- or even utilized? Judging from this discussion, the jury is very much still out on the subject.