GREEN HOSPITALS, GREEN HEALTHCARE
Free (open access)
Volume 2 (2017), Issue 2
196 - 205
PILAR CHÍAS & TOMÁS ABAD
Concepts related to ‘green health’ and ‘green hospitals’ are rapidly changing and varying their scopes towards wider perspectives. Environmental health considers the natural, built and social environments, implying a better understanding of the way they impact on health, and accepting that the built environment plays an important role in it. On the one hand, impacts of building design, construction, operation and management of hospitals on environment and health are currently accepted. On the other hand, hospitals are complex systems, where changes are neither fast nor easily performed. In order to achieve a green healthcare system, a deep knowledge of its strengths and weaknesses is needed, as well as of the internal dynamics. According to this target, our research focuses on the identification of opportunities for improving the existing health facilities according to the new concepts related to green hospitals. We deal with the study of various aspects as the site and its environment, better access, efficient management of resources (particularly water and energy), waste reduction, use of renewable and low emission materials, as well as all factors in design that can improve the users’ wellness. Some decisions must be taken at the early phases of planning, design, and construction, while other can be reached when hospitals are already operating. In addition, some decisions affect the buildings and their sites (the ecological footprint of the facility), while other extend to the neighbouring communities (districts, and municipal infrastructures and services) in order to diminish the risks, and to protect natural resources. Decisions can even affect wider ranges (as supplies and purchasing, for instance) and can help the efficient management while reducing the environment degradation. The proposed case study is University Hospital Príncipe de Asturias in Alcalá de Henares.
evidence-based design, green building, healthcare facilities, Spain, sustainable design, therapeutic environment