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LEED and healthcare

LEED v4: Healthcare Sector May Struggle

LEED and healthcareThe healthcare industry – which lags behind many other sectors in LEED certifications – will take some time to adjust to the requirements of the soon-to-launch LEED v4 standard, Healthcare Design reports.

The development of environmental product declarations, healthy product declarations and lifecycle assessments will be time-consuming, says Russell Perry, co-director of sustainable design at architecture and engineering firm SmithGroupJJR.

Still, he says the greater transparency for material toxicity is welcome. And Breeze Glazer, associate and national research knowledge manager for sustainable healthcare at Perkins + Will, says some of the new v4 credits are closely aligned with credits under the existing LEED for Healthcare v3, giving healthcare companies a head start. These include credits for water metering and process water use reduction.

LEED for Healthcare is itself a young standard, launched in April 2011. It took about two years before the USGBC handed out its first certification under the standard (a Gold-level award), last spring. That was followed by the first ever LEED for Healthcare Platinum a few months later.

LEED v4 was approved this summer and will launch at the Greenbuild International Conference & Expo, being held November 20-22 in Philadelphia.

Takeaway: Embedding changes to comply with a new standard takes time. Luckily, a grace period will allow institutions to use the old LEED 2009 standard until 2015.

Tamar Wilner is Senior Editor at Environmental Leader PRO.

Pictured: Group Health Cooperative’s medical office building in Puyallup, Wash., the first building in the nation to win LEED for Healthcare certification.

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