As 2011 comes to a close, it seems fitting to take a look back at some of the hot topics of the past year. One that few can rival is clearly sustainability. When it comes to the operation and maintenance of healthcare facilities, this one tends to take the cake.

I found that an interesting gauge on how we’re doing can be found in a survey released by the Corporate Realty, Design & Management Institute and the Healthcare Council (soon to be Institute) of IFMA and conducted as part of the “Economics, Efficiency, Energy & Environment—Making the 4Es Work Together in Healthcare" seminar series.

The full report can be downloaded here:

From 2010 to 2011, a mix of architects, designers, engineers, hospital facilities managers, healthcare engineers, project managers, and contractors were surveyed across 20 major metropolitan areas about specifying and buying cost-effective and sustainable products for healthcare facilities.

According to the survey's analysis of responses, the top three issues reported by respondents were:

  • Apprehension about the performance of new technology;
  • Buying decisions based on first costs; and
  • Proliferation of green washing by manufacturers and service providers.

It appears that if there is any question as to why more haven’t jumped on board with making major progress in greening facilities, this may be a glimpse as to the concerns that remain—and, certainly, the fears surrounding investing in green products and technologies.

Does this mirror your own feelings or what you’re encountering in the field? The report suggests that a change in behavior and more education is needed to change these perceptions—is this enough?

Share your thoughts in the comments below.