Contract - Book review: Sustainable Healthcare Architecture, Second Edition

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Book review: Sustainable Healthcare Architecture, Second Edition

28 October, 2013

-By Debra D. Harris, Ph.D.



The challenge for healthcare facility architects, designers, and 
planners is to innovate while managing complex systems, priorities 
and constraints. Often, it seems that healthcare design issues and sustainability are at odds. However, the newly released Sustainable Healthcare Architecture, Second Edition provides successful case studies in which sustainability supports, rather than competes 
with, other organizational priorities. This book makes the case for environmental stewardship for healthcare facility design and provides guidance for the successful design of sustainably built environments that meet the needs for health, safety, and welfare—environments 
that support whole health.

Sustainable Healthcare Architecture, Second Edition is an update of the book initially published in 2007 and authored by Robin Guenther, FAIA, principal and sustainable healthcare design leader 
in Perkins+Will’s New York office, and Gail Vittori, co-director of the Center for Maximum Potential Building Systems. The 450-page book 
is divided into four sections: the context for sustainable or ecological design; measuring building performance as it relates to sustainable practice; a status review of sustainability in healthcare facility design; and a discussion about restorative design demonstrating commitment to patient care while sustaining the ecosystem. Within these four sections, the book includes 55 case studies with key sustainability indicators, essays by contributing authors, and propositions for 
the design of sustainable healthcare facilities. Guenther and Vittori describe the value of sustainable practice for healthcare facility 
design, educate the reader on issues ranging from global to human concerns, and provide innovative examples for ecological design of 
the built environment.

The thesis of Sustainable Healthcare Architecture, Second Edition is that the design and operation of healthcare facilities play 
a significant role in human and ecological health. Responsible design decisions may reduce waste, cause less damage to the environment, and create healthy places that are restorative. The most valuable aspects of this book are the multiple strategies for the planning and design of sustainable healthcare facilities—often large, complex building systems that have a range of occupants, including employees and patients, who are all affected by the physical environment.

The authors suggest that key players in healthcare design have been, for the most part, out of the loop. They write: “Until recently, healthcare owners, architects, and engineers have been unaware of 
the impact that sustainable design concerns have had on the larger design industry.” While it may seem that healthcare facilities have lagged in sustainable design practice, healthcare organizations and healthcare design professionals were routinely having discussions about sustainable design and LEED certification as early as 2002, 
a mere two years after the launch of the LEED rating system. The complexities, not only of building design and ecological concerns, 
but issues related to patient safety and potential conflicts between operational protocols and industrial hygiene, made sustainable 
design for healthcare a complicated proposition for projects 
with long timelines.

Of primary concern is the projection of outcomes, whether human health or financial, as a strategy for valuing healthcare sustainable design. Very little research is published to support such claims, and the authors do make a call for more research to validate projected outcomes. Until that is made available, expected results may be based on modeling that does not reflect assumptions that are used to assess the value of sustainable healthcare design.

Guenther and Vittori provide a wealth of information to educate and to advance a position on the sustainable design of healthcare facilities. The case studies, while primarily devoid of occupant-driven metrics, are interesting and informative about strategies for the greening of the healthcare industry. They provide architectural and engineering data to inform the reader about design and performance goals, which focus on carbon neutrality, net-zero energy, water balance, zero waste, and the elimination of persistent bioaccumulative toxic chemicals. The next generation of healthcare designers should strive to meet these performance goals using this book for guidance, along with science and social science evidence to balance ecological concerns with those of the human race.

Debra D. Harris, Ph.D., is president of RAD Consultants, focusing 
on evidence-based strategic planning for healthcare systems, architects, designers, and product developers. Specializing in healthcare facility design, she is the co-author of Design Details 
for Health, Second Edition (Wiley, 2011).




Book review: Sustainable Healthcare Architecture, Second Edition

28 October, 2013


The challenge for healthcare facility architects, designers, and 
planners is to innovate while managing complex systems, priorities 
and constraints. Often, it seems that healthcare design issues and sustainability are at odds. However, the newly released Sustainable Healthcare Architecture, Second Edition provides successful case studies in which sustainability supports, rather than competes 
with, other organizational priorities. This book makes the case for environmental stewardship for healthcare facility design and provides guidance for the successful design of sustainably built environments that meet the needs for health, safety, and welfare—environments 
that support whole health.

Sustainable Healthcare Architecture, Second Edition is an update of the book initially published in 2007 and authored by Robin Guenther, FAIA, principal and sustainable healthcare design leader 
in Perkins+Will’s New York office, and Gail Vittori, co-director of the Center for Maximum Potential Building Systems. The 450-page book 
is divided into four sections: the context for sustainable or ecological design; measuring building performance as it relates to sustainable practice; a status review of sustainability in healthcare facility design; and a discussion about restorative design demonstrating commitment to patient care while sustaining the ecosystem. Within these four sections, the book includes 55 case studies with key sustainability indicators, essays by contributing authors, and propositions for 
the design of sustainable healthcare facilities. Guenther and Vittori describe the value of sustainable practice for healthcare facility 
design, educate the reader on issues ranging from global to human concerns, and provide innovative examples for ecological design of 
the built environment.

The thesis of Sustainable Healthcare Architecture, Second Edition is that the design and operation of healthcare facilities play 
a significant role in human and ecological health. Responsible design decisions may reduce waste, cause less damage to the environment, and create healthy places that are restorative. The most valuable aspects of this book are the multiple strategies for the planning and design of sustainable healthcare facilities—often large, complex building systems that have a range of occupants, including employees and patients, who are all affected by the physical environment.

The authors suggest that key players in healthcare design have been, for the most part, out of the loop. They write: “Until recently, healthcare owners, architects, and engineers have been unaware of 
the impact that sustainable design concerns have had on the larger design industry.” While it may seem that healthcare facilities have lagged in sustainable design practice, healthcare organizations and healthcare design professionals were routinely having discussions about sustainable design and LEED certification as early as 2002, 
a mere two years after the launch of the LEED rating system. The complexities, not only of building design and ecological concerns, 
but issues related to patient safety and potential conflicts between operational protocols and industrial hygiene, made sustainable 
design for healthcare a complicated proposition for projects 
with long timelines.

Of primary concern is the projection of outcomes, whether human health or financial, as a strategy for valuing healthcare sustainable design. Very little research is published to support such claims, and the authors do make a call for more research to validate projected outcomes. Until that is made available, expected results may be based on modeling that does not reflect assumptions that are used to assess the value of sustainable healthcare design.

Guenther and Vittori provide a wealth of information to educate and to advance a position on the sustainable design of healthcare facilities. The case studies, while primarily devoid of occupant-driven metrics, are interesting and informative about strategies for the greening of the healthcare industry. They provide architectural and engineering data to inform the reader about design and performance goals, which focus on carbon neutrality, net-zero energy, water balance, zero waste, and the elimination of persistent bioaccumulative toxic chemicals. The next generation of healthcare designers should strive to meet these performance goals using this book for guidance, along with science and social science evidence to balance ecological concerns with those of the human race.

Debra D. Harris, Ph.D., is president of RAD Consultants, focusing 
on evidence-based strategic planning for healthcare systems, architects, designers, and product developers. Specializing in healthcare facility design, she is the co-author of Design Details 
for Health, Second Edition (Wiley, 2011).

 


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