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Incorporating LEED HC into an HHI Hospital

The U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) new LEED-Healthcare (LEED HC) program provides a way to measure sustainability in a medical facility. It follows the established LEED platform with additional credits aimed at the healthcare environment, and adds a health emphasis into a sustainable building project. If your facility is working on a building project, LEED HC is a good way to embed sustainability into the building.

All LEED projects are required to take an integrated approach to design, and ensure a LEED-accredited professional is involved in the project. The LEED professional will work with you on integrating HHI principles into the project. Rather than being a burden, this requirement is an asset: if you are working on HHI for your facility and are not in the engineering or facilities department, how can you involve yourself into a building project?

The first plank of HHI is Engaged Leadership. A high-level commitment indicates that you have a necessary and constructive voice in the project. Every LEED project begins with a Green Charrette. The meeting involves people from the hospital’s engineering, facilities and from user groups. It should also include representatives from such supporting departments as Environmental Services and Materials Management, and the HHI rep should be invited. Don’t be shy—you may need to invite yourself, the architect may not know about your hospital’s HHI efforts.

At the meeting, explore how the HHI Challenges fit into the building project. Some planks—such as Leaner Energy, Safer Chemicals and Less Waste—directly affect a building; others are indirect. How your organization chooses the objectives to pursue depends on what is important to the facility. Every hospital is different, and the HHI and LEED programs are complimentary. Both programs offer choices that shape your path to sustainability. Your organization’s values and mission statement will be your guide.

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