We read more and more about the increasing desire for healthcare facilities to be sustainable and achieve LEED certification, although I recently read a statistic that a mere 2% of the USGBC LEED registered projects are healthcare buildings. The healthcare industry as a whole seems to be slow to respond to the sustainability movement, albeit understandably due to the high energy consumption and 24/7 operation of hospitals. I also understand that healthcare facilities may be employing sustainable practices simply without registering for LEED with the USGBC.

I have been fortunate however to work with a client that is ahead of the curve. We are currently waiting to hear back from the USGBC to see if our recently completed hospital addition will succeed in becoming the first LEED-certified hospital project in New Hampshire. Not only has the hospital embraced sustainability in its construction projects (through green roofs, use of local materials, recycling, natural lighting, etc.), but also in other ways on its campus (food service, smoke free, etc.). The difference was the true commitment from hospital management at the onset. In fact, the project owner had such an interest in the benefits of natural lighting to patients, families, and staff, that he, the project architect, and medical staff surveyed and studied the effects of natural lighting in their new Intensive Care Unit. Sustainability is a mindset, not just a checklist. Sustainability will soon be the normal course of business for healthcare projects. Please share your sustainability success stories in healthcare facilities!