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Mar 4th 2015

Importance of Sustainable Hospital Engineering: Going for the Green

Sustainable building engineering design and construction is the practice of creating structures and using processes that are environmentally responsible and resource efficient throughout the life cycle of a building– from selecting the site to design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation, and finally, deconstruction. Energy and resource efficient, eco- friendly designs are beneficial to the community and environment, socially responsible and thus well received. Hospitals have a mission to
improve the health and well-being of patients, staff and the communities they serve which is why sustainable engineering is the most economical and best operational choice for health care organizations to consider.

Sustainability, also known as being “green” and becoming more environmentally friendly not only helps the environment and community, but also provides many more initiatives such as contributing to a healthier environment for the hospital employees and patients and lowering total operational costs.

Additional benefits resulting from instituting sustainable hospital engineering building practices include:

  • Materials management
  • Enhanced air and water quality
  • Reduced solid waste & pollution prevention
  • Improvements in employee productivity
  • Optimized building performance
  • Improved patient comfort and health

Although more and more health care organizations understand the benefits of implementing sustainability projects, finding solutions that work in the real world sometimes can be a challenge. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Green Building Council, construction and operation of all buildings in the United States result in the following consumption of resources:

  • 72 percent of electricity resources
  • 39 percent of total energy used
  • 3 billion tons of raw materials annually (40 percent of raw stone, gravel, sand, and steel; 25 percent of virgin wood)
  • 17 percent of freshwater flows

As well, construction and operation of all buildings in the United States result in the following generation of waste materials:

  • 25-40 percent of municipal solid waste
  • 50 percent of CFCs
  • 30 percent of CO2 production
  • Other air emissions and water discharges

Although some hospitals may choose to put their focus on energy reduction, water conservation, minimizing waste, etc., becoming a sustainable building can contribute to an overall healthier environment. Working with the experienced sustainable building design team at KMB can help organizations to implement strategies to achieve an integrated approach to their engineering, design, construction, operations and maintenance goals. KMB incorporates numerous “green” elements in every project we do; sustainability is an overarching philosophy that influences every phase of a project.

The KMB engineering staff includes multiple LEED- accredited professionals who will either spearhead or actively participate in the LEED Charette process, and perform the LEED Administrator role including USGBC submissions, submittal reviews, and managing the online process. They also can prepare an extensive MEP design narrative illustrating the systems involved and their operations and benefits.