Fifth floor, Ward ... Green Healthcare?

Photo by amypritchizzle |

When I look at a hospital room from an environmental perspective, I see a lot of potential for waste and pollution. From the architectural design, electronics being left on or plugged in, disposable products and therapeutics used, there are a lot of issues to take into consideration. In recent years, companies have begun to take note of all these environmental concerns for hospitals, one of them being the architectural practice of Anshen and Allen.

Based out of offices in Boston, Columbus, San Francisco and London, Anshen and Allen focuses on designing buildings for healthcare, academics and research. Their portfolio is centered on projects concerned with benefitting society, community and humanity. In line with this, one of their ideas is the Green Patient Room. This new and innovative concept in the field of healthcare is being described as the first of its kind.

The Green Patient Room is constructed from an array of recycled materials including the bathroom’s porcelain floor, furniture’s polyester and art piece’s resin. In addition to its recycled materials the building products are also selected from eco-conscious companies such as sustainable forests and business free of chloroflurocarbons or heavy metal dyes. The lead designer of the room, Suzanne Drake also ensured it was sustainable in its design.

In the Green Patient Room’s construction, steps were taken to reduce the amount of scrap pieces produced in production and installation. Drake also wanted the room to flexible and adaptable over time so future renovations would not have to require a complete overhaul of hospital rooms. Other major environmental considerations in the room’s design include energy efficient LED lighting, low water usage faucets, toilets and showers.  

The idea behind the Green Patient Room is more than just being a design concept that hospitals can use for their buildings. It is also meant to be an example for the green movement in the hospitals of today. Drake wanted to ensure that physicians could see practical applications of environmental alternatives for their own practices and facilities. Ideally this will help increase the number of physicians reaching for sustainable options today and in the future.

Additional efforts the Green Patient Room brings to healthcare is solutions to connect the indoor and outdoor environment in the hospital. The designers of the room believe in the literature that supports idea that access to nature enhances patient recovery and have incorporated this into their design. The Green Patient Room design for hospitals in milder climates boasts a terrace for patients, family and staff to take in the outdoors. In hospitals with less temperate weather, the room will have a solarium porch to improve the room’s atmosphere, provide passive heating and reduce energy dedicated to heating.

Unfortunately, the Green Patient Room does come with a catch. It does not currently have an official price but the materials involved in its construction are on average 2 to 3 percent higher than their non sustainable options. Overall, I believe this is a small price to pay and is a relatively low increase in cost in comparison to other fields where purchasing environmental alternatives can be financially challenging. In the end I hope that the Green Patient Room does exactly what it was made to do. Provide a greener healthcare experience in a comprehensive manner, lead by example and inspire healthcare professionals to make much needed eco-friendly changes.