Green Health Care Design Is Affordable

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The first hospital in the world to receive the LEED Platinum Certification, Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas has six interior gardens representing different ecosystems in which sister facilities are located. Photo: Dell  Children's Medical Center of Central Texas
The first hospital in the world to receive the LEED Platinum Certification, Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas has six interior gardens representing different ecosystems in which sister facilities are located. Photo: Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas

It’s OK, health care, take a chance on going green. A study five years ago and a follow-up done just to be sure have confirmed that there’s a minimal cost, if any, to give health care facilities greener designs.

Results of the first study, “Demystifying First-Cost Green Building Premiums in Healthcare,” conducted in 2008, showed that the capital cost premium for green health care design was 2.4 percent. A lot of questions among health care institutions were circling at the time about green design and its costs. Authors of the study believed the results would put the cost concerns to rest. “We thought the findings would help to be a myth-buster,” co-author Gail Vittori told Healthcare Design.

But the data wasn’t enough. Concern over cost premiums persisted. The topic was revisited in a new study that used a new set of hospital projects, all completed between 2010 and 2012. And all were Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) certified for new construction by the U.S. Green Building Council.

What were the results? The averages were similar, with only a little variation. But health care institutions remain skittish about embracing green design. Authors of the study say they think it’s because the idea of being green is still new to health care, an industry with a risk-averse nature.

For more information, see the article in Healthcare Design.