Green Star rated hospitals and healthcare facilities are popping up across the country and Sonia DeAlmada, Certification Manager at the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA), believes this will pave the way for a greater focus on health and wellbeing.
Earlier this year, the Royal Adelaide Hospital was the first large-scale hospital complex in Australia to achieve a 4 Star Green Star – Healthcare as Built rating from the GBCA. Following this development, several healthcare facilities pursuing a Green Star certification hit the double digits, which the GBCA says is a great sign that health and wellbeing are becoming increasingly important components of sustainability. Two other sustainability-focused hospitals that reached a 4 Star Green Star rating this year was the Northern Beaches Hospital in New South Wales and the Sunshine Coast University Hospital.
The rating has seen great success in offices and other commercial buildings Australia-wide, producing positive productivity and wellbeing results, so it will be fascinating to see how certified green hospitals improves the state of healthcare across the country.
“Much like occupants in Green Star rated offices see the benefits of sustainable features, fit-outs and performance, working in a certified hospital can mean its staff experience a healthier work environment,” explained Ms DeAlmada, “this means reduced stress, less fatigue and better care for patients in Green Star rated hospitals.”
And the research is out there to prove that sustainable building does make a difference…
A study in 2005 investigated the effect of sunlight on patients undergoing spinal surgery and found that lighter and brighter rooms in hospitals contributed to stress reduction and that patients experienced less pain and used less analgesic medicine. Another study at the Mackenzie Health Sciences Centre in Canada found that depressed patients in sunny rooms recovered approximately 15 per cent faster than those in darker rooms.
Further to this, the World Green Building Council suggests that green design features in hospitals can deliver an 8.5 per cent reduction in hospital stays, 15 per cent faster recovery rates, a 22 per cent reduction in the need for pain medication, in addition to an 11 per cent reduction in secondary infections.
“Hospitals are quite complex buildings if you consider the different requirements for patient wings and staff areas,” commented Ms DeAlmada.
“That’s why it’s so great to see so many projects taking leadership in the healthcare sector and we’re excited to see more come through as Green Star hospitals become the norm.”