If there’s a single industry that should lead the way in planet-friendly design and solutions, that would be healthcare. After all, the purpose of this field is to provide care and ensure health for everyone, and one surefire way to achieve that is to slowly, but surely reduce our carbon footprint and other damage to the environment. With the help of advanced technological solutions paired with the implementation of IoT in healthcare institutions for improved analytics and education, as well as industry-specific opportunities, green design is more than possible – it should become the new norm.
The facilities themselves have ample potential to be reformed and redesigned in such a way to boast more environmentally-friendly features. Plus, they can inspire and offer more opportunities to staff and patients to implement individual sustainable practices such as composting, growing plants, and recycling. Here, we’ll list a few design solutions to empower healthcare facilities in their efforts to go green.
Green disposal for healthcare
One of the greatest issues when it comes to sustainability in healthcare is reducing pollution from various forms of waste. So much plastic is used every day, and the use of single-use items such as surgical masks and gloves is yet another trend slowing down sustainability in this industry. However, with smarter, more planet-oriented disposal systems and smarter waste management, even hospitals and labs can advance in this respect.
In addition to switching to vendors that use recycled materials and that build their partnerships on such a simple principle, you can turn your own facility into a pollution-free zone in terms of waste. Innovative sterilizing solutions such as microwaving help transform medical waste to harmless waste that can then be reused, repurposed, or recycled. This will prevent incineration, which pollutes air, soil, and water, and it will steer medical facilities towards long-term eco-friendly design.
Turning to energy-efficient lighting
Constantly changing challenges for healthcare also serve as inspiration to look for innovative solutions that boost business efficiency across the board. Facilities can no longer function with old-school solutions, so design opportunities no longer focus on boosting profits, but also on sustainability in healthcare. Take, for example, lighting: hospitals and other medical centers need long-lasting, durable, and patient-friendly solutions.
Improved visibility paired with durability can be accomplished with LED-based clean room lights ideal for spaces such as operating rooms as well as laboratories. They are low-maintenance, which reduces their cost of ongoing care, they last much longer than conventional incandescent lights, and they are more sustainable. It turns out that they are also an aesthetically-pleasing solution, allowing better illumination and comfort for patients as well as staff.
Green spaces within healthcare facilities
The fact that a little can go a long way is clearly shown with designing green rooftops for healthcare facilities – such a small step and a relatively small investment can have major, long-term implications for the business’s environmental impact.
These green patches atop a medical institution can both simplify your logistics efforts and provide your patients and doctors with the most localized source possible of healthful herbs and edibles. You’ll eliminate the need to transport certain spices, herbs, and foods, thus slashing your carbon footprint. Plus, you’ll invest in a rooftop garden that will lower the temperature of the building, which will in turn lower the use of energy for ACs and similar equipment.
What we’ve seen in the past several months is a surge in visits to doctors due to the pandemic – a natural surge, but one that can be still reduced with smarter approaches. Reducing one-on-one visits and crowds not only helps slow the pandemic, but it also significantly cuts the carbon footprint of so many people driving to your facilities. Especially in non-emergency situations, more healthcare facilities can now rely on health-focused mobile apps that provide advice and guidance for patients with no emergency issues.
Additionally, for patients who need specialist care, various tech trends in healthcare such as telehealth enable medical professionals to help their patients without inviting them to the facility right away. With cloud access to their comprehensive health records and synced data from all other specialists, any doctor can give well-informed decisions remotely, thus cutting unnecessary visits to the facility in question.
From automating various processes, relying on the latest equipment that is designed to be more energy-efficient, all the way to interior design solutions with the planet at heart – healthcare facilities have tons of potential to grow. Green is certainly the new black when it comes to design, and this particular industry is the perfect candidate to start transforming processes and architectural solutions alike in order to accommodate a more eco-friendly future.
About the author: Mike Johnston is an avid blogging enthusiast and experienced freelance writer with a focus in home improvement, real estate, travel, and business.