Green Hospital Improves Patient Experience

The following is an article that I recently wrote for Thoughtforms Corporation Builders in Acton, MA. I hope to see more energy efficient building and remodels for the South.

As commercial builders, Thoughtforms stays up to date with sustainable developments in the industry. On the west coast, Puget Sound Energy and the nonprofit, Swedish, have created one of the most energy efficient hospitals in the nation. In addition to reaching sustainability goals, Swedish Lake Sammamish/Issaquah hospital has also improved the patient experience.

The often cold and sterile atmosphere of a hospital is quickly dispelled by the creation of a courtyard garden in the center of the  building. The walls facing the garden are paneled with windows, permitting an abundance of natural light that lowers lighting loads while simultaneously providing all patient rooms with a beautiful view.

The effective and efficient heating is often a concern for buildings in the northern US. The Seattle hospital addressed that issue through a steam pipe heating system. Steam heating captures heat that would normally be vented out. It also manages to keep surfaces at a comfortable room temperature–no more icy handrails and chilling floors. The accompanying ventilation systems provides improved air quality to everyone within.

When it is time to dine, staff, patients and their guests are relieved of the hospital food blues. Cafe 1910 is the hospital’s cafeteria, except is isn’t a cafeteria at all. It is more like a restaurant, serving carefully crafted organic meals in a stylish atmosphere. No mystery meat here.

Some portions of the patient experience are lagging behind in the times. The hospital is equipped with energy efficient appliances, fixtures, and accessories when possible but most medical machine manufacturers have not issued energy-efficient versions of their technology. “Energy efficient equipment has not really caught on in the medical equipment industry,” says Chuck Salmon of Swedish. “They just want to make sure things work.” Working machinery is important, to say the least. No patients have complained about that.

Source: Sustainable Industries

Image Source: photostock

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