Italy’s Meyer’s Children’s Hospital in Florence
In health matters a doctor’s pledge is first and foremost “Do No Harm”. The worldwide corporation Health Care Without Harm is taking this step one step further in terms of sustainable environments and construction.
The group is a coalition of worldwide health care facilities and experts that create projects globally that aim to create heath care environments in the greenest possible manner. Not only are they creating sustainable health care environments, but are in fact leaders in eco-friendly technologies and promotion.
In the America the corporation has just released a report and video workshop that will be sent to hospitals around the country, explaining practices that can be undertaken in creating a sustainable hospital. In the “Healthy Hospital, Healthy Planet, Healthy People” it explains the seven steps of a sustainable hospital. They are as follows: Energy efficiency, Green Building Design, Alternative Energy Generation, Transportation, Food, Waste and Water.
Although each of these elements are important to bring together a sustainable environment, the Green Building Design factor is opening up a new area of green building for the construction and design industry. Never before has this particular area been tapped. We will be seeing creation of the world’s first carbon neutral hospitals. While it will not only promote sustainability on the huge scale that is health care, it will promote further industry growth and involvement in terms of sustainable building.
The report explores two out of the many areas where these principles are being followed.
The first is a case study of the Changi General Hospital in Singapore. Through green building as well as retrofits on the hospital they have been able to save US$800, 000 (AUD $802, 589) in energy and water costs. Green design features include a Green Roof that doubles at as a hydroponic garden that provides fruit and vegetables for the hospitals kitchen as well as providing insulation for the building. Other simpler aspects include energy efficient lighting and fans, automatic doors for cooling enhancements and low flow water taps.
The second case study presented is Italy’s Meyer Children’s Hospital in Florence. The hospital was designed specifically with the principles of “Healing Spaces”, so while it is energy efficient, it is also a space that emphasises healing through the environment. That is the factor that influences the design aspects of Green Roofing, natural light and garden “buffer” spaces. The hospital itself is built on a hill so as to disrupt surrounding environments the least.
The other specific area that a green focus has been made is through the energy monitoring system that runs through the hospital. The “Building Energy Management System” monitors the hospitals energy output and where it is coming from, so that sustainability is an ongoing process.
This space is impacting positively on its young patients as well as the environment. When compared to other modern Italian hospitals, Meyer’s Children’s Hospital uses 36% less electricity and 35% energy for heating and cooling.
While Australia is not yet involved in the process, globally the Health Care Without Harm initiatives are changing the way that health care environments are working. With health care facilities in every country across the globe, first, second and third world, we will see one of the biggest promotions of green building through the carbon neutral hospital.
Image: As sourced from inhabitat.com