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Green Guide for Health Care and LEED: Sorting Out the Rating Systems

By Richard L. Peck and Gail Vittori
Healthcare Design Magazine

Presumably within a matter of days, if it hasn't happened already, the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) will publish the final version of the long-awaited LEED for Healthcare. For the first time since its inception 10 years ago, the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, process for guiding and recognizing levels of excellence in sustainable building design will have a rating system tailored specifically for the healthcare field. This builds on the early groundbreaking work of the Green Guide for Health Care, a project of the Center for Maximum Potential Building Systems and Health Care Without Harm.

After several halting years during which a handful of healthcare institutions attempted to conform to the basic LEED criteria, with more than 20 achieving LEED certification, it became generally acknowledged that the LEED for New Construction rating system designed for commercial structures presented challenges to the healthcare industry. These facilities employ specialized staff and high technology to medical diagnosis and treatment 24 hours a day under unique regulatory requirements.

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