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The Buzz About LEED for Healthcare
July 28, 2011
Today's tip is about the new LEED for Healthcare rating system the U.S. Green Building Council released in April.
The new rating system includes five new prerequisites, several new credits and several tweaks to existing credits, both in terms of requirements and how the credits should be achieved. LEED for Healthcare is based upon the Green Guide For Healthcare, and includes many of the same strategies. Though, the biggest difference is that whereas LEED for Healthcare is a rating system that assumes users will go through with third-party certification, the Green Guide is just that: a guide. Users self-certify that they've completed its requirements.
Facility managers should also be aware of a few key differences between LEED for Healthcare and LEED for New Construction. One area LEED for Healthcare focuses on much more than its LEED-NC predecessor is water. LEED-HC includes a much more rigorous measurement and verification credit, and also adds water efficiency credits for several building areas, including cooling tower, building equipment and food waste systems. LEED-NC had only considered domestic water use.
One final note of significance: LEED-HC includes credits that award points for connection to nature with areas of respite and direct access for patients. This is one of the major ways LEED-HC complements the notion of evidence-based design. LEED-HC experts say sustainability and evidence-based design are inextricably linked, so making sure the rating system reflected that was a huge goal.