How Healthcare Facilities Earn LEED Certification
Research has outlined many of the benefits associated with the implementation of green and sustainable cleaning initiatives in facilities. In the healthcare setting, these benefits are particularly important seeing as the indoor environment can have a dramatic impact on occupant health.
For example, certifications such as LEED, from the U.S. Green Building Council, outline specific practices that are designed to reduce toxic exposures to occupants and the environment. LEED’s healthcare rating system includes a suite of credits focused on the quality of the indoor environment — the Indoor Environmental Quality (EQ) credit category.
According to reports from Laboratory Equipment, healthcare facilities also must balance the needs of the patients with those of the staff. This is addressed in the LEED credits for Quality Views and Daylight.
Under the LEED v4 EQ Quality Views credit, facilities must address inpatient areas separately and staff and public spaces must be placed on the perimeter of the building. The LEED v4 EQ Daylight credit includes an option for performing annual computer simulations for two key daylight metrics. These metrics can be used to optimize staff and patient access to daylight.
Yet another LEED credit focuses on connecting building occupants to the natural environment and using biophilic design. This LEED v4 pilot credit requires the project team to explore design strategies related to biophilic design based on the information in the “14 Patterns of Biophilic Design” report and the book “Biophilic Design: The Theory, Science and Practice of Bringing Buildings to Life.”
The certification also emphasizes careful materials selection. The LEED v4 EQ credit Low-Emitting Materials provides a framework for material selection, and requires using interior building products that have been tested for volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emissions.
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