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Green Guide for Health Care Newsletter
Green Guide for Health Care Newsletter
Green Guide for Health Care Newsletter
October 2006
Green Guide Tips
Simple “How-To’s” for Using the Guide
How To Make the Business Case for Green Building in Healthcare
Several articles and white papers published over the past year have made the business case for green building in healthcare on
both a strategic level and by highlighting specific projects. All of the articles listed below agree that an effective business case
for healthcare facilities must recognize the importance of aligning health care’s mission of healing with the bottom line.
Making the Case to Healthcare Executives
“The Business Case for Green Buildings” excerpts the proceedings from a panel at Clean Med 06. A few key talking points
from the article are listed below.
(Clean Design magazine, June 2006,
The business case in health care cannot rely only on energy savings, because a typical hospital’s energy budget is
less than 1% of its total operating budget. A strong argument will equate operational savings to added revenue
stream: e.g., $100,000 savings in energy equates to “x” number of MRI’s or additional physicians on staff.
Hospital executives have begun to respond to proof that a green building design will help them retain staff (particularly
nurses), improve worker safety, and improve outcomes for patients.
Healthcare facilities have begun to capitalize on the advantages of sharing their successes with their community to
differentiate themselves from their competition and to target philanthropic support.
A teleconference held in February 2006 establishes the complexity of a healthcare facility’s bottom line. Because all
healthcare facilities are in the business of providing health, they make decisions all the time that may not improve their
financial bottom line, but are considered essential to their work and improve their overall status in their community.
(“Making the Business Case for Green Health Care Facilities,” Hospitals for a Healthy Environment Green Building
Teleconference Series, February 2006,
“The Dollars and Sense of Greening Healthcare” reviews both traditional business case successes (i.e., lowering
operations costs) and health care specific business case topics, such as the connection between human health and green
building. The article also provides a variety of case study examples from across the country. (Green @ Work e-magazine,
February 2006,
Case Studies
Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas (DCMCCT) in Austin, Texas, is partnering with the local utility, Austin
Energy, to build a gas-fired combined heat and power plant on-site that will provide energy, steam and cold water for air
conditioning to the hospital. Austin Energy is building the plant in exchange for a long-term energy contract with DCMCCT,
freeing up $6.8 million in the construction budget that had been earmarked for a central plant to be re-invested in green
strategies such as increased energy efficiency and healthy finish materials. (“Brownfields Bloom: Dell Children’s Medical
Center of Central Texas,” Healthcare Design magazine, March 2006,
Kaiser Permanente, the largest nonprofit health plan in the U.S., has distinguished itself as a leader in its market, in part,
through leadership in reducing the use of toxic chemicals in its facilities. Kaiser anticipates spending $21 billion through
2012 on capital expenditures. Its powerful buying power has allowed it to work with manufacturers to move the
marketplace in the direction of less toxic building materials. (“Better Living and Bigger Profits Through Safer, Greener
Chemistry,” Sustainable e-magazine, September 13, 2006,
The Patrick H. Dollard Discovery Health Center (LEED® Certified) is a physical demonstration of the Center for Discovery’s
mission to provide a healing environment for their disabled clients, many of whom are victims of environmental toxins. The
project’s primary goal was to eliminate all known or suspected toxic chemicals from building materials. The financial
incentive provided by NYSERDA for coupling radiant slab heating and ground source heat pumps also grew out of the
Center’s mission and delivery of care, which specified radiant heating to enhance the occupants’ thermal comfort.
(“Anything is Possible: the Center for Discovery Believes in the Impossible – for its Clients and Health-Care Facility,” eco-
structure magazine, July/August 2006,
Providence Newberg Medical Center published a press release to mark the day they were certified as the first hospital to
achieve LEED® Gold Certification. The press release emphasizes Providence health system’s leadership role as an
organization committed to providing a healthy, healing environment to their patients, staff and visitors. Local and state
energy incentive packages will shorten the payback period associated with the green design to 14 months. Providence
plans to reinvest the 26% annual energy design savings in patient care and the community.
(“Providence Newberg Gets Green – And Gold! New Medical Center is ‘Greenest’ Hospital in the Nation,”
The CEO’s Perspective
A series of white papers sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation entitled “Designing the 21
Century Hospital:
Environmental Leadership for Healthier Patients and Facilities” was released in late September by the Center for Health Design
and Health Care Without Harm. One paper in the series, “Values-Driven Design and Construction: Enriching Community
Benefits through Green Hospitals,” reviews the motivating factors behind early adopter hospitals’ decision to construct and
operate environmentally friendly facilities.
Significantly, the paper finds that healthcare institutions that decide to construct a green building are largely motivated by the
strong correlation between green building principles and their mission to provide healing and community stewardship. Traditional
green building business case arguments – such as energy and water savings – played a role in assessing the project’s level of
success, but the purpose for constructing and operating a green building remained the realization that leading healthcare
institutions have an obligation to provide a healthy, healing environment for their patients and staff, not just a building.
Download a PDF of the white papers at our website for no charge:
1. Join us on Friday, November 3 from
1-2:30 ET for the next H2E (Hospitals
for a Healthy Environment) Green
Building teleconference: Building
Materials & Human Health! Effective
November 2006, all H2E
teleconferences will become an H2E
Subscriber Benefit. For an annual $199
subscription fee, H2E Subscribers will
have access to 26 teleconferences
(including green building topics), the
ability to apply for H2E awards, and
staff technical assistance. Visit
http://h2e- for more
2. On November 5, “Designing the 21
Century Hospital: First Do No Harm”,
a workshop at Healthcare Design 06 in
Chicago, Illinois, will present five
groundbreaking white papers. See the
“Green Guide Tips” article for more
information. Register at:
3. Two half-day trainings “Using LEED for
New Construction on Healthcare
Projects” will be offered at the US
Green Building Council’s Greenbuild
conference: Tuesday, November 14 and
Friday, November 17. Register at:
4. Wall Street Journal article from
October 4 highlights the Green Guide
for Health Care! Several Green Guide
Pilot projects are listed as examples of
the healthcare industry’s push to
provide healthy, healing environments
for patients and staff. Green Guide
Pilots cited in the article: Kaiser
Permanente Modesto Medical Center,
Gabrellian Women’s and Children’s
Pavilion – Hackensack University
Medical Center, Dell Children’s Medical
Center of Central Texas. For more
information, visit:
5. New report finds that common
substances in hospitals can cause
asthma, including cleaning chemicals,
fumes from building materials and latex
gloves. The first-of-its-kind report,
released by Health Care Without Harm,
presents rigorously researched
information about asthma triggers and
asthmagens found in health care
settings, and shows how to reduce
problematic exposures. For more
information, visit:
6. Register a project with the Green
Guide for Health Care! Green Guide
website registrants can register projects
at no charge by logging into the website
and following the prompts on the Pilot
web page. Project registration is fast
and easy and grants the project
coordinator access to online tools such
as checklists and a list-serve open only
to Green Guide projects.
7. Support the Green Guide for Health
Care! Visit the Supporters
section of the
Green Guide website for information on
how to support our work. All donations
to the Green Guide are tax deductible to
the fullest extent of the law.
8. The Green Guide welcomes our new
Endorser: Panel Source International.
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