Sustainable Facilities: Green Design, Construction, and Operations

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As a result, it is important for health care organizations to adopt an approach to design, construction, and operations and maintenance that supports a healthy environment, both in their facilities and in their communities. The immediate health of building occupants. In addition, access to daylight has been found to favorably affect staff productivity and patient outcomes. The health of the surrounding community. Local air and water quality is affected by building design choices for both new construction and renovation projects.

Off-gassing release of chemicals into the air through evaporation, sometimes over a number of years of building materials and finishes, fumes from construction equipment, and exhaust from HVAC systems can emit VOCs volatile organic compounds , particulates, and other materials into the air of the surrounding community that can contribute to formation of ground-level ozone smog and induce allergic attacks, respiratory problems, and other illnesses.

Thoughtful land use and transportation planning, landscape and water management on the grounds, and responsible air filtration, waste disposal, and energy and water conservation efforts within the building all influence the amount of toxic emissions released to the water and air throughout the life of the building.

The health of the larger global community and natural resources. The health impact of a building stretches far beyond its immediate community. The production of building materials can release persistent bio-accumulative toxic compounds, carcinogens, endocrine disruptors, and other toxic substances.

The compounds in these materials threaten not just the communities where they are manufactured; in fact, many of them potentially threaten the health of communities and ecosystems far from their place of manufacture and use because of their long life and disposal hazards.

Sustainable Facilities: Green Design, Construction, and Operations

Energy use and associated greenhouse gas emissions contribute to climate change. Climate change resulting from the burning of fossil fuels is expected to increase the spread of disease vectors far beyond their current regions, destabilize ecosystems, and ultimately, to threaten worldwide food supply and quality. Rainforest depletion from unsustainable forestry practices may result in the loss of medicines and important genetic information that could help fight diseases.


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To learn more about climate change mitigation strategies, refer to the Roadmap Strategies sections on energy and water conservation measures, waste reduction measures, and chemicals policy. The other topic areas in this section explore specific aspects of sustainable buildings in greater detail.

Earth House Doubles as Environmental Classroom

Click the links on the left to learn more. Prevention is a fundamental principle of providing quality health care and protecting public health. Indeed, preventing disease is vastly preferable and more effective than treating disease after it has occurred. In the face of uncertainty, precautionary action is appropriate to prevent harm. This public health approach makes sense both in the clinical setting and in response to environmental and public health hazards.

Similarly, a precautionary and preventive approach is an appropriate basis for decisions regarding material selection, design features, mechanical systems, infrastructure, and operations and maintenance practices. The ASHE Green Building Committee developed a construction guidance statement to answer the question of what sustainable design and construction means in the context of a health care facility. High-density construction will inevitably pose as a key feature of future sustainable cities, with geometry being a crucial consideration in the complex design process.

Architects make several of these important decisions at the planning stage. The elements in a BIM model have all the characteristics of their actual counterparts, allowing for accurate building simulation and an understanding of the way the environment will impact it before actual construction work begins. Linking spaces and layouts of facades and rooms as well as material criteria with energy and facility management issues, BIM is the digital method to make better and faster decisions about construction costs related to highest design quality and operational expenses.

Examples such as the Shanghai Tower and Country Park Clinic in Moscow show the outstanding impact of BIM for a more sophisticated building design in harmony with maximised usability and cost reductions for construction and operation.

LEED & Sustainability

Some countries have already taken a positive step in this direction, adding buildings with interesting geometrical exteriors to their cityscapes. Besides their eye-catching aesthetic, what you might not know is that these unique designs also address a pressing need today — sustainability.

Twisting by degrees from the base to the top, this creates a rotation that is optimal for minimising wind loads. The hollow roof captures and harvests rainwater, and acts as a blackwater treatment facility. Another interesting feature includes fritted glass on the outer wall that provides additional shade from the sun.

Farmington's Newest Green Facility

This is aided by horizontal ledges at each floor level that can block the sun. Its stacked design creates multiple horizontal surfaces that are converted into green spaces, such as roof gardens and landscaped terraces — increasing the green space to percent of the land area. The blocks are also angled in such a way that allows them to cast deep shadows, providing cool shade to its residents. This design idea provides efficient circulation without long corridors.

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