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People in the US tend to think that we know "the way" to green buildings, especially healthcare buildings. To the degree we are willing to consider other perspectives, we look to the Scandinavian countries, and their low-energy usage. We tend to think of facilities in the developing world as sub-standard.

There is another perspective, though, that these facilities in the developing world can offer. In fact, people have been delivering quality healthcare in the developing, frequently resource-poor world for a long time. This session will explore ways in which these facilities can teach us valuable lessons about how to provide healthcare in a way that uses few resources, and makes buildings that are part of the local eco-system, not foreign to it.

The session will conclude with a case study of the Butaro Hospital in Rwanda (pictured above), designed by the Mass Design Group, out of Cambridge, MA, and the way that this facility used these ideas.

Co-hosted by Green Guide for Health Care – Earn 1.5 CEUs from AIA!  

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  1. Learn about the WHO recommendations for the healthcare sector.
  2. Learn about ways healthcare facilities in the developing world are improving their environmental performance.
  3. Learn about things healthcare facilities in the developing world can teach us about doing more environmentally benign buildings.
  4. Learn about how these principles are being expresssed in the Butaro Hospital in Rwanda.


Walt Vernon, Principal, Mazetti, Nash, Lipsey+Burch
Walt Vernon is an electrical engineer, an MBA, and an attorney. He has been designing healthcare facilities across the country for 25 years, and was one of the early green healthcare pioneers. Walt is one of three Co-Coordinators for the Green Guide for Healthcare. He chaired the committee that wrote the healthcare chapter for the California Green Buildings Code. He is the Vice-Chair for the ASHRAE 189.2 Standard for Green Healthcare Buildings; he also chairs the Research Committee for the Healthcare Guidelines Revision Committee. Walt serves the World Health Organization as a consultant in helping them with greener healthcare buildings around the world. He recently founded the Sextant Foundation, a 501(c)3 organization dedicated to developing sustainable solutions for healthcare buildings in the developing world, and to using science to push the boundaries for what is possible in the world of Global Healthcare Building Codes.

Alan Ricks, Co-Founder and Creative Director, MASS Design Group
Alan received his Bachelor of Arts from Colorado College and his Masters in Architecture from the Harvard Graduate School of Design. Alan manages the Boston office leading projects including the GHESKIO Tuberculosis Hospital in Haiti, research on infection control and health facility design for the WHO, and policy development for the Liberian Ministry of Health. Alan was a founding member of MASS Group and has been a part of the Butaro Hospital and Girubuntu Primary School design teams in Rwanda. Alan is an adjunct faculty member at Clark University and has been a guest critic at Colorado College, Harvard, Northeastern, and the University of Texas. Alan previously worked with Maryann Thompson Architects and Johnston Marklee.

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