Using the Green Guide
Applicable Building Types
The Green Guide is specifically customized for buildings that are predominately institutional occupancies as defined by the local building code, such as acute care hospitals, where continuous occupancy and specific regulatory requirements lead to energy intensive, complex buildings that cannot be approached with the same sustainable design and operation strategies as commercial office structures.
Medical office buildings, clinics and other buildings in which healthcare 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 stand-alone best practices guide.
The Green Guide for Health Care has been informed by a number of guidance documents. Refer to Reference Documents to access these key documents.
The Green Guide is available for public use in PDF format. All replication in whole or in part must reference the Green Guide and include the limitations on its use described here. The Green Guide is an open access document available at no charge.
The Green Guide for Health Care borrows the credit numbering scheme and credit outline structure of the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) LEED® family of products, by agreement, with some modifications. Each credit has the following elements:
While operational data requirements are especially geared for existing facilities, they also serve as useful references for new construction projects as they establish operations policies and ongoing operational protocols. In addition, the Suggested Documentation associated with each prerequisite and credit may help those teams also pursuing LEED certification, as in some cases they approximate documents required for LEED compliance.
As a self-certifying, best practices toolkit, the Green Guide does not establish achievement level threshold rankings. To gauge achievement, project teams can take advantage of the Green Guide’s point system to establish baselines and benchmarks and to support continuous improvement over time.
Construction projects are encouraged to identify the operations-related credits that they intend to achieve and adopt policies to implement these O&M strategies. Note that construction projects are unable to attain many of the points in the Operations section, as some credits require a year’s worth of data to achieve credit goals.
Existing facilities are encouraged to track their ongoing performance using the Green Guide’s Operations section, and commit to use the Green Guide’s Construction section on future projects.
All projects can take advantage of the Green Guide’s self-certifying structure:
Project teams can register to use the Green Guide’s Construction or Operations section — or both — through a web-based tracking tool. Upon registration, up to 10 project team members can gain access to the project data. To register a project, click here.
Operations and maintenance protocols are critical to sustain healthcare facilities’ health and environmental benefits. The Green Guide for Health Care has developed specific tools related to operations and maintenance in collaboration with Practice Greenhealth. These represent a critical component of a sustainable design, continuous improvement program. Design teams are strongly encouraged to collaborate with facility operations staff early in the design process to establish commitments to sustainable operations policies included in the Operations toolkit, and evaluate the impact of these protocols, during programming and design to ensure their integration.