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Green Hospital Program Launched

Green hospitals program is being developed by USGBC and Green Guide for Health Care

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Numerous studies have shown dramatic increases in the health, happiness, and productivity of people who live and work in green buildings, and hospitals are no exception. Nurses, doctors, and other staff work long hours in a high-stress environment, and providing them with a safe and comfortable work place is vital both to their health and to the health of their patients. Improvements in the working environment increase staff effectiveness and satisfaction and greatly reduce errors, greatly contributing to the quality of patient care.

"Green hospitals seek to reduce use of and exposure to toxic chemicals and provide a healthier healing environment," said Adele Houghton, Project Manager, Green Guide for Health Care. "By employing green practices, whether incrementally or from the ground up, many hospitals are managing to lower energy bills, reduce waste and achieve healthier indoor air quality."

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and the Green Guide for Health Care (GGHC) have entered into an agreement to help green the healthcare industry by fostering best practices and ensuring the health care industry has the tools and resources it needs to build green. Green hospital buildings are healthier for the patients, doctors and nurses; use less energy and water; and have less of an impact on the environment.

"The healthcare industry is by far one of the more important sectors that can benefit from the practice of green building design and construction," said Rick Fedrizzi, President, CEO & Founding Chair, U.S. Green Building Council. “Patients in green hospitals have greater emotional well-being, require less pain medication and other drugs, and have shorter hospital stays."

Following four years of close collaboration, USGBC and GGHC signed the memorandum of understanding in September 2007 agreeing to work together on the development of tools, educational programs, and other activities to support green health care building. USGBC and GGHC will jointly develop health care-related resource materials, education and training events; identify a prioritized research agenda; and continue to collaborate on developing future health care-related green building tools.

USGBC will administer the LEED for Healthcare certification process and the GGHC will continue to act as a change agent and tool developer dedicated to empowering the health delivery industry to take a leadership position in the world of green building and operation. As such, the Green Guide will continue to develop the next generation of the GGHC tools.

Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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