Wednesday, September 25, 2013

New Study By Perkins+Will Claims Reasonable Costs for Hospital LEED Certification

A recent study conducted by Perkins+Will, a global architecture and design firm, has found evidence that the additional costs required for pursuing LEED certification for hospital facility projects are not as high as previously believed. The findings revealed that the average capital cost premium for LEED-certified hospitals under 100,000 square feet was just 1.24% and 0.67% for hospitals over 100,000 square feet. The study was titled, "LEED Certified Hospitals: Perspectives on Capital Cost Premiums and Operational Benefits" and was administered by Robin Guenther, FAIA LEED AP, Breeze Glazer, LEED AP from Perkins+Will and Gail Vittori, LEED Fellow, from the Center for Maximum Potential Building Systems.

The group used data collected from several interviews with project teams representing 15 LEED-certified hospitals completed between 2010 to 2012. The study amplified previous research performed in 2008 from Guenther and Vittori, which investigated the capital cost premiums for 13 LEED certified health institutions. These healthcare buildings included hospitals, ambulatory and mixed-use facilities. The combined studies found cost premiums ranging from 0-5 percent - 2.4 percent in 2008 and 1.24 percent in 2012. The study concluded that the average additional costs for hospitals over 100,000 square feet was only 0.67%.

Because of the current economical state, many health institutions have focused on ruling out unnecessary capital costs. This research shows, however, that though there is actually a very small cost difference between green and conventional hospital construction. Additionally, achieving LEED certification, especially for a healthcare facility, is very beneficial for its resources and energy, as well as maintaining overall human health. Guenther states, "LEED certification is in fact one of the most sound investments a hospital can make in today's economy. It delivers measurable economic, environmental and human health benefits."

Since 2008, LEED certification has become a national guideline for healthcare facilities to save money and encourage positive impacts on the environment. Hospitals take up as much as 2.5 times more energy per square foot as an office building, and historically use a substantial amount of carbon dioxide, responsible for approximately eight percent of the country's total carbon dioxide usage. Sustainable hospitals are able to restrict greenhouse gases, conserve natural resources, and preserve air and water quality. These crucial reasons behind LEED certified healthcare buildings have already inspired many facilities over the last ten years to go green, starting with the first LEED certified hospital in 2003. Hopefully as cost data continues to become available, such as that presented in the Perkins+Will's study, more facilities will be able to justify and implement LEED and sustainable design practices.

About LEED

LEED, Leadership in Energy and Efficient Design, was created by the U.S. Green Building Council and provides building owners and operators a structure of implementing and refining environment-efficient and practical building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions. LEED can apply to all building types including schools, homes, commercial interiors, healthcare and residential communities. LEED certification grants a building or facility accreditation for performing and operating in important areas of human and environmental health. Green Education Services offers a variety of LEED and other courses required for sustainable architectural design.

Learn more about LEED for Healthcare facilities - register today for GreenEDU's two-hour live webinar Sustainability for Healthcare Facilities.