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Frequently Asked Questions

 

Click on a question below to view a short answer to commonly asked questions. If your question is not answered here and you require a direct response from our staff, please email admin@gghc.org.

What is the Green Guide for Health Care?

The Green Guide is the health care sector’s first quantifiable sustainable design toolkit integrating enhanced environmental and health principles and practices into the planning, design, construction, operations and maintenance of their facilities. This Guide provides the health care sector with a voluntary, self-certifying metric toolkit of best practices that designers, owners, and operators can use to guide and evaluate their progress towards high performance healing environments. 
     

The Green Guide has two major components – a Construction section and an Operations section.  The Construction section is relevant for new construction, renovations, and additions. Existing facilities are encouraged to track their ongoing performance using the Operations section, while making a commitment to utilize the Construction section on future projects. Construction projects are encouraged to identify any Operations-related credits that they intend to achieve and establish commitments to these O&M goals through policy setting. Note that construction projects are unable to attain all of the points in the Operations section, as some credits require a year’s worth of data to achieve credit goals. back to top

What is the difference between a self-certifying, best practices system and a third-party certified rating system?

A self-certifying system does not require program participants to provide documentation demonstrating that the project has complied with the program’s voluntary recommendations.  Self-certifying toolkits are used as internal guidance for continuous improvement and best practices. As such, the responsibility for proving compliance with specific Green Guide criteria lies with the project team. A third-party certification program, such as the USGBC’s LEED® Rating System, on the other hand, requires project teams to submit documentation to a third party certifying body (the USGBC, in this case) in order to verify compliance with a set of guideliness. back to top

What building types are appropriate to use the Green Guide for Health Care?

The Green Guide for Health Care is specifically customized for buildings that are predominately institutional occupancies as defined by the local building code, such as acute care hospitals, where regulatory requirements have created particular needs. Medical office buildings, clinics and other buildings where health care concerns are dominant can also use the Green Guide. The Green Guide applies to new, freestanding facilities; additions to existing facilities coupled with renovation; extensive rehabilitation/adaptive reuse projects; and, existing facilities for which the Operations section can be used as a standalone best practices guide. Additionally, any project type where health-based considerations are paramount will benefit from the Green Guide credits’ emphasis on health-based considerations. back to top

What is the difference between the Green Guide for Health Care and the upcoming LEED® for Healthcare tool?

There is a history of collaboration between the Green Guide and the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), a non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C., that develops and administers the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) rating system. LEED® and the Green Guide may be distinguished from each other through their mode of administration.  LEED® is a third-party certification rating tool, while the Green Guide is a voluntary, self-certifying tool.  However, it is important to note that the Green Guide for Health Care is not a USGBC document.  Many Green Guide registered projects are using both LEED and the Green Guide, with many finding that credits new to the Green Guide may be used as potential Innovation credits for their LEED® certification. back to top

What is the relationship between the Green Guide for Health Care and the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC)?

Following four years of close collaboration, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and the Green Guide signed a memorandum of understanding in September 2007 agreeing to work together on the development of tools, educational programs, and other activities to support green health care building. For more information, see Relationship to LEED® products. back to top

Where can I find the Green Guide for Health Care v 2.2 documents?

The Green Guide Version 2.2 is divided into two parts: the Construction section and the 2008 Revised Operations section. Both documents and their constituent chapters are available as free PDF downloads on the www.gghc.org website under the TOOLS tab. You must be a registrant to download complete or individual sections of the Green Guide back to top

What are the major updates to the 2008 Revised Green Guide Operations section?

The 2008 Revised GGHC Operations section is the most significant revision since the January 2007 release, marking the completion of a rigorous development process including two public comment periods. The Operations section document available on the www.gghc.org website is the December 2008 version.
The section was expanded from 72 points to 121 points and reorganized to group credits by facility department, creating a more user-friendly tool. Regulatory standards, best practices, and resources were updated to reflect the most current available information, including alignment with the 2008 revision of LEED® for Existing Buildings-Operations and Maintenance rating system, with permission, where applicable. Emerging priorities in health care operations and maintenance are reflected in the update, including emissions reporting, low-impact grounds maintenance, sustainable food service, and multi-attribute environmentally preferable purchasing policies. The self-certifying nature of the Green Guide lends itself to continuous improvement. The revised Operations section emphasizes goal setting and establishing ongoing environmental programs by requiring periodic performance evaluations and outlining aspirational innovation points for industry leaders. The section emphasizes establishing a cross-departmental structure governing environmental programs as well as ongoing education of staff, patients and visitors, and the general public on the connection between greening a facility’s operations and human health. back to top

What is the difference between Green Guide for Health Care website registration and project registration?

Green Guide website registration refers to individual access to the website. Website registrants have access to Green Guide educational material – including free, downloadable PDF’s of the Green Guide for Health Care documents and other Green Guide toolkit products, as well as the opportunity to participate in the Forum. Green Guide website registrants also have the ability to register a project with the Green Guide or join a Green Guide project team.

Green Guide project registration refers to registering a construction or operations project that involves joining a learning community of other facility-based projects. A project team for a health care facility uses applicable part(s) of the Green Guide’s self-certifying best practices toolkit, and has web-enabled access to aggregated data plus additional resources to track implementation and continuous improvement. back to top

How can I sign up a project as a Green Guide for Health Care registered project?

Click on the PROJECT REGISTRATION tab on the Green Guide website for directions on how to register either a Construction or Operations project. Note: You can be part of more than one project at any time. You may be an administrator on one, and a team member on another. You can manage multiple projects online.

Can I be involved in more than one project concurrently?

Yes! As long as you are an individual registered with the Green Guide, you can be an active member of one or more project teams. When you log in, the Green Guide site will recognize your participation on all Construction and Operations project teams, and will list all your projects. Depending on your role on different projects, you may be allowed to access and/or edit the Green Guide checklist(s) and/or upload case study material. All project team members have access to viewing project-related documents. Project Administrators are allowed Edit/Delete/Upload rights as well.  Since each project is assigned a unique identifier, you can track your project activity online. Note that you cannot ‘combine’ projects in any way at this time — each project is distinct and tracked separately within a single database. back to top

Can I register as a Green Guide for Health Care Operations Pilot project?

Not unless you have been accepted into the v2.2 Green Guide Pilot program. The Green Guide for Health Care, in collaboration with Practice Greenhealth, launched a 2010 Operations Pilot program. For more information on the 2010 Operations Pilot, click here. (Note: This is separate from the Construction Pilot program, which ended in 2007 and is no longer active.). back to top

What are the benefits of Green Guide project registration?

Green Guide registered projects have access to a variety of online project management tools and aggregated data about best practices in sustainable health care design, construction, and operations. The Green Guide draws case studies for articles and presentations from registered projects that choose to publicize their work. Those projects that prefer anonymity can still benefit from the knowledge other project teams provide, in terms of materials, methods, approach, lessons learned, and the economics of greening. back to top

What are the minimum requirements for a Green Guide registered project?

Green Guide registered projects are required to fulfill all of the prerequisites in the section of the toolkit they pursue. Green Guide Prerequisites have been designed to reflect best practices that any project should be able to incorporate without incurring additional expense. Registered projects are not required to participate in both the Construction and Operations sections of the Green Guide simultaneously. While the Green Guide does not designate minimum credit thresholds for participation, registered projects are encouraged to complete as many voluntary credits as possible. The minimum requirements include completion of the registration form, initial completion of the Green Guide checklist for a given project and access to a project contact person who would be authorized to provide updated and accurate information to the Green Guide upon request. back to top

Has the Green Guide established minimum point thresholds?

No. The Green Guide for Health Care is a self-certifying, best practices toolkit; as such, it does not provide achievement level threshold rankings. The point system provides teams with a way to baseline and benchmark their achievement and to support continuous improvement. back to top

Am I required to use both the Construction and Operations sections of the Green Guide at the same time?

No. Existing facilities are encouraged to track their ongoing performance using the Operations section, while making a commitment to utilize the Construction section on future projects. Construction projects are encouraged to identify the Operations-related credits that they intend to achieve and establish commitments to these O&M goals through policy setting. Note that construction projects are unable to attain all of the points in the Operations section, as some credits require a year’s worth of data to achieve credit goals. back to top

Who should be included on my Green Guide for Health Care Version 2.2 project team?

A total of 15 members of the project team may associate with the project. Construction project team members should include, at a minimum, representatives from the owner, architect, MEP engineers, and contractor. Operations Project team members may include members of the facility’s Green Team (if applicable), including representatives from key departments, e.g. Facilities, Environmental Services, Food Services, Materials Management, Health and Safety, Infection Control, Laboratory Services, etc. All project team members have read-write access to the online checklist(s). Only the Project Team Administrator(s) have administrative access to full project information and can invite or remove project team members. To add or change a Project Team Administrator from a project, email info@gghc.org. back to top

How can I accept an invitation to associate with a Green Guide registered project?

Each Green Guide project is governed by a “Project Team Administrator”. If the project team administrator invites you to associate with a project, you will receive an email from the project administrator with information on accessing the "Accept Invitation" link online. back to top

What is the Green Guide for Health Care Forum?

Green Guide registered project teams have access to the “Forum,” a dedicated web-based discussion where project team members can engage in peer-to-peer interchanges with other teams to discuss issues that arise and exchange ideas as they pursue achievement of credits in the Guide. While Green Guide staff are unable to offer consultation on individual projects, the peer-to-peer discussions in this Forum provide valuable support and ideas to participants. These discussions inform subsequent refinements to the Green Guide document. The Green Guide encourages project teams to take advantage of the community of Green Guide registrants and other project teams by using the Forum frequently. back to top

How can I support the Green Guide’s work?

You can get involved in several ways:

  • Participate in Green Guide educational outreach: read our monthly newsletter and pass the word to your colleagues and administration
  • Participate in the monthly Design & Construction webinar series, in collaboration with Practice Greenhealth (www.practicegreenhealth.org).
  • Register one or more of your projects as a Green Guide registered project.  
  • Support the Green Guide either financially (as a Sponsor, Champion, Partner, Contributor, Friend) or as an Endorser, a level of support that does not imply a financial contribution. Click here for more information about how to support the Green Guide. All donations to the Green Guide for Health Care are tax deductible to the full extent of the law. back to top

How can I learn more about the Green Guide for Health Care?

Register and become an active member of the Green Guide community for access to updated information about the Green Guide through newsletters and reports.

  • Download the Green Guide for Health Care Version 2.2 document from the www.gghc.org website for free.
  • Attend a Green Guide–related event listed on the “Events” section of the www.gghc.org website
  • Contact info@gghc.org if you have specific question. back to top

Is the Green Guide available in any languages other than English?

Not yet. A Spanish version of the Construction Guide is in development. At this time, the Green Guide for Health Care is only available in English. However, the Green Guide conducted a survey of the need for one or more International Green Guide in 2009 and is evaluating the need and available resources to develop region- or country-specific guides. For further information or to support the development of an International Green Guide, please send an e-mail to support@gghc.org. back to top

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