Academic journal article Journal of Sustainable Development

Occupant Comfort and Satisfaction in Green Healthcare Environments: A Survey Study Focusing on Healthcare Staff

Academic journal article Journal of Sustainable Development

Occupant Comfort and Satisfaction in Green Healthcare Environments: A Survey Study Focusing on Healthcare Staff

Article excerpt

Abstract

Since the US Green Building Council introduced green building design strategies and measurement indicators as the name of LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) in 2000, different rating systems for various types of facilities have been developed. LEED for Healthcare that was initiated to improve healthcare buildings' energy efficiency and sustainability is one of them. Yet, there is still a strong debate over whether LEED certified hospitals provide more comfortable environments for the staff to work in than the counterparts.

The purpose of this study was to identify effective factors influencing healthcare occupants' comfort and satisfactions through comparing the perceptions of the healthcare staff from green hospitals with those from conventional hospitals. The study mainly targeted nursing staff because they spend about eight hours daily in such environment to improve patients' health outcomes. By comparing the perceptions of the healthcare staff from green hospital (or LEED-certified hospitals) and conventional non-LEED-certified hospitals, the results from this study showed significant differences between two types of hospitals studied. This study additionally reviewed these effective elements, examined if they were indoor environmental quality elements or interior design elements, and discussed if green healthcare environments actually contributed toward improving occupant's comfort and satisfaction.

Keywords: healthcare facility, LEED, occupant comfort and satisfaction

1. Introduction

1.1 Background

As buildings consume more than 70% of the electricity and a large part of materials, water, and generate 60% of non-industrial waste (National Institute of Building Sciences, 2010), green buildings have become one of the main practices to constrain resource costs. Embracing multiple aspects that surround a building such as site conditions, energy consumption, water efficiency, indoor environmental quality, material uses, innovation in design and regional characteristics, green building is "an integrative effort to transform the way built environments are designed, constructed, and operated"(US Green Building Council (USGBC), 2009). In green buildings, the consumption of energy, water, and other resources are greatly reduced by adopting various methods and energy and water saving technologies (USGBC, 2009). Furthermore, green buildings aim to achieve high performance in human and environmental health via improved occupant productivity and comfort by providing better indoor environmental quality (USGBC, 2011).

Since the US Green Building Council introduced green building design strategies and measurement indicators as the name of LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) around in 2000, different rating systems for various types of facilities have been launched (USGBC, 2014). LEED for Healthcare which was established to improve healthcare buildings' energy efficiency and sustainability is one of them. Aligning with an increase in the development of healthcare buildings in the United States due to graying of the baby boom generation and the need to replace aging 1970s hospitals (Ulrich et al., 2008), rehabilitating or newly constmcting healthcare facilities into be green has been highlighted. It has thus been popular to design those facilities to achieve certain level of energy- and water-efficiency, site sustainability, and indoor environmental quality. In fact, the number of healthcare facilities to achieve LEED-certifications has been increasing. As of October in 2014, approximately 220 healthcare facilities applied for LEED for Healthcare certifications. Some of them achieved certifications while others were in the process of application. This showed that the design principles of green building have been adapted to many healthcare facilities (USGBC, 2014).

Generally, indoor environments in green buildings are known to be more comfortable and satisfactory for their occupants than conventional buildings (Lee & Kim, 2008; USGBC, 2009). …

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