The Center for Discovery in Harris, New York, a facility for significantly disabled patients and their families, earned certification through LEED-NC in 2004. Guenther 5 Architects selected materials based on their upstream and downstream health effects, and incorporated strategies expected to save 50% of the energy used in a conventional facility.
Following two years of development and review, the Green Guide for Health Care™ (GGHC) has been released in version 2.0 pilot form. Modeled closely on the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED
Rating System, GGHC identifies and quantifies environmental and health concerns in the planning, design, construction, operations, and maintenance of healthcare facilities. Unlike LEED, however, GGHC is based entirely on voluntary self-certification, and the system is not a product of USGBC. “The Green Guide for Health Care sets the standard for high-performance healing environments and highlights the health benefits of green building,” said Robin Guenther, AIA, principal of Guenther 5 Architects and GGHC co-coordinator.GGHC was customized for “buildings that are predominately institutional occupancies as defined by the local building code, such as acute-care hospitals.” These buildings challenge familiar green-design strategies with around-the-clock operations; intensive reliance on energy, water, and hazardous chemicals; production of large amounts of waste, including biohazards and other toxins; and arduous regulatory requirements. Other healthcare facilities, however, such as medical office buildings and clinics, may also benefit from the Guide.