Interior design of a private ward room in hospital medical clinic center

Healthcare Facilities Embrace Resilience Standard

  June 19, 2019

By Dan Hounsell

Resilience is quickly becoming a top priority for more institutional and commercial organizations. As natural disasters grow in frequency, intensity and cost to recover from, and as external threats from active shooters and cyberattacks target organizations, managers and their internal teams are looking for ways to more effectively prepare for, respond to and recover from a crisis. The healthcare market is taking particular notice of a new standard to aid these efforts.

Two Southwestern hospitals are piloting a new standard that its developers hope will produce lasting change in building design. The Christus Spohn Hospital in Corpus Christi, Texas, and the University of Oklahoma Medical Center in Oklahoma City both have made resilient design a must-have and use a standard called RELi for guidance, according to Health Facilities Management.

RELi is a consensus standard that was published in 2014 by the Institute for Market Transformation to Sustainability. It provides an integrative process to create resilient facilities and communities. Last fall, Green Business Certification Inc. and its partner the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) adopted it. The standard’s original creators and USGBC are refining the standard and scaling it to become an international rating system, much like USGBC’s LEED rating system.

Susan Dorn, USGBC general counsel, says the organization’s adoption of RELi is in keeping with work it already had begun with pilot credits as part of LEED certification.

“We got some uptake for those credits, but we knew that resiliency needed to be addressed more broadly,” Dorn says. “RELi offers a wholesale approach to resiliency.”

The standard addresses sustainability and green design in a number of ways. On the physical environment side, it includes a section called the Panoramic Approach, which touches on holistic systems. The Hazard Adaptation section addresses topics such as site location, backup power, thermal safety during emergencies and designing to withstand extreme weather.

Dan Hounsell is editor-in-chief of Facility Maintenance Decisions.



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