The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has launched LEED for Healthcare, the latest version of its sustainability rating system.
The LEED for Healthcare system, for both new buildings and major renovations, can be applied to inpatient, outpatient and licensed long-term care facilities, medical offices, assisted living facilities and medical education and research centers.
The rating system passed a USGBC member ballot in November 2010. Although more than 225 healthcare projects have already received LEED certification under existing rating systems, the USGBC said that LEED for Healthcare will meet the unique needs of 24-hour operational facilities.
It addresses factors including process water use related to medical equipment; rural facility locations; patient populations, often with compromised immune systems; and sensitivity to chemicals and pollutants, the council said.
“Research has shown that when we are treated and heal in a green healthcare facility – one that has a healthy indoor environmental quality and connects us to the outdoors – we heal faster, have shorter hospital stays and fewer return visits,” the council’s senior vice president of LEED, Scot Horst, said. “LEED for Healthcare is now six years in the making, addressing the healthcare industry’s unique green building needs.”
The LEED for Healthcare system sprang out of collaboration between the USGBC and the Green Guide for Healthcare (GGHC), a project of the Center for Maximum Potential Building Systems and Health Care Without Harm. The GGHC pilot launched in 2007, and the council said that feedback from that program helped inform the creation of LEED for Healthcare.
In the coming months the USGBC plans to launch tools and resources tied into the new rating system, including educational workshops, webinars, podcasts, and a reference guide.
Pictured: The LEED Platinum Kiowa County Memorial Hospital in Greensburg, Kan. Credit: Department of Energy.