253589 Greening health sector facilities - health facilities as a catalyst and model for healthier energy policies and healthier communities

Monday, October 31, 2011: 11:30 AM

Walter Vernon, PE, LEED AP, LLB , Mazzetti Nash Lipsey Burch (M+NLB), San Francisco, CA
Health care facilities are anchor institutions in the communities that they serve. Climate-friendly and energy-efficient health care facilities can save resources in an era of soaring health care costs as well as improving health services. This presentation is based on a recent WHO assessment of how health facilities can adopt climate change mitigation measures that also achieve: a) health resource savings, b) reductions in diseases or environmental health risks and c) greater health equity. Mitigation measures considered are from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report (IPCC, 2007). The presentation also discusses case studies in building and retrofitting greener health care facilities in the USA and developing countries. Among those, on-site co-generation of heat and power (CHP), including use and storage of renewable energy sources, is being implemented by health care facilities to improve efficiency and performance. Better use of natural ventilation is also discussed as a strategy that can help save energy and can reduce infectious disease transmission, with reference to a WHO systematic review "Natural Ventilation for Infection Control in Health Care Settings (WHO, 2009). Other aspects of greener health care facilities are covered with reference to how they may improve community health, e.g. improved management of health care waste and sensitive procurement practices. With regards to the latter, a number of US-based studies have shown that health care workers suffer from asthma at rates higher than the norms. More sensitive and judicious use of abrasive chemicals, along with better use of ventilation measures, can help address this burden.

Learning Areas:
Basic medical science applied in public health
Biostatistics, economics
Chronic disease management and prevention
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Occupational health and safety
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines

Learning Objectives:
Identify the most critical aspects of climate-friendly, low-energy health care design that can also benefit public and community health. Demonstrate how design/engineering measures for health care facilities may be assessed and fine-tuned in light of their expected occupational health and community health outcomes. Describe an analytic framework and methodology for such evidence-based assessment. Describe real-life experiences with implementing such measures, as well as enablers and barriers to health sector adoption of "greening" measures.

Keywords: Environmental Health, Health Centers

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the CEO of MAZZETTI NASH LIPSEY BURCH (M+NLB). I am the principal author of WHO's Healthcare in the Green Economy.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.