green healthcare facility, noted Alexander. As a primarily outpatient-based center, it did not pose the challenges of inpatient facilities and their attendant complexities. Alexander remarked that the building is quite appealing as a place to work, with a reliance on natural lighting.
LEED has been an effective way to analyze the environmental impacts of a project, including energy usage predictions, observed Alexander. The cost of a LEED building for Emory has been 0.5–2.0 percent above traditional approaches, and the payback has generally
Going beyond LEED, Emory strives to incorporate sustainability into its operational and academic endeavors.
occurred in the first few years of a building’s operation. Going beyond LEED, Emory strives to incorporate sustainability into its operational and academic endeavors. The university is continually developing both a strategic and a master plan. These plans address such issues as traffic flow problems, stormwater runoff, energy conservation and the development of alternative energy, and reduction of the university’s ecological footprint. Traffic flow problems go beyond Emory’s border and require partnerships with the county, neighborhood associations, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the American Cancer Society. As a result of its commitment to a holistic approach to sustainability, Emory has adopted a plan that
calls for all facilities to be certified at the LEED Silver level at a minimum;
is an integral part of the Emory University Sustainability Initiative;
allows the sustainability commitment to inform planning but not limit growth;
directs all facilities to support healthy lifestyles—not only among the ill, but also among the well who work at or visit the campus; and
emphasizes health preservation guided by the Emory/Georgia Tech Institute for Predictive Health Care.
Because of the relatively large size of the healthcare industry in the U.S. economy, it can make a highly favorable impact on human health by minimizing its ecological footprint. This can be accomplished if health care institutions fully embrace and adopt sustainability principles in general and especially in facility construction, concluded Alexander.