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Using the Green Guide


photoApplicable 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.

Reference Documents

The Green Guide for Health Care has been informed by a number of guidance documents. Refer to Reference Documents to access these key documents.

Terms of Use

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.

Material contained within the Green Guide may not be used by or as part of a for-profit enterprise (for sale or as a component of an educational program) in which attendees are charged fees without the express permission of the Green Guide for Health Care. For questions concerning these terms of use, contact us.

Credit Structure

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:

  • Intent — Summarizes the credit goal.
  • Health Issues — (new to the Green Guide) Identifies specific health concerns addressed by the credit. Health Issues are periodically reviewed by Dr. Ted Schettler, M.D., MPH.
  • Credit Goals — Itemizes the specific steps to achieve the credit including threshold goals.
  • Suggested Documentation — Suggests documentation to monitor and baseline performance and to benchmark achievement of the Credit Goals. The Green Guide is a voluntary self-certifying document that does not offer third party certification. Green Guide users are encouraged to establish internal record keeping and tracking systems to support ongoing monitoring and continuous improvement.

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.

  • Reference Standards — Identify the standards and documents that establish the basis of the credit requirements.
  • Potential Technologies and Strategies — Suggest helpful information to support the Credit Intent and Credit Goals. Regional considerations and project specific performance needs, goals and other constraints are important factors to consider. Products and materials referenced in the Potential Technologies and Strategies section do not represent an endorsement but are suggestions consistent with credit achievement.
  • Resources — A list of resources related to each credit is included to aid users in obtaining additional information about a credit or health issue.

Points and Achievement Levels

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:

  • Pursue all the “prerequisites” and as many “credits” as are viable and aligned with the project’s guiding principles and goals.
  • Follow the “Suggested Documentation” associated with each prerequisite and credit. While the Green Guide does not require documentation to be compiled for third party certification, taking the time to document compliance is helpful to baseline and benchmark project performance, and to support continuous improvement.

Project Registration

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.

Integrating Operations

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.

© 2019 Green Guide for Health Care