Kelly Worden

Within the green building community, health care organizations are realizing the positive impact that facility design and operation can have.

With the Health Facilities Symposium and Expo (HFSE) taking place this week, I’ve been reflecting on the evolving role of health care facilities in supporting population health. Within the public health sphere, health care organizations are increasingly regarded as anchor intuitions with the ability promote local economies and address the social determinants of health.

Within the green building community, health care organizations are beginning to consider the direct, positive impact that facility design and operation can have on the health of patients and staff, in addition to the societal health benefits of traditional environmental strategies such as water and energy conservation.

The evolution in approach from these two distinct sectors provides new opportunities for innovation and partnership. As such, I am encouraged to see the breadth and depth of programming available at HFSE this year. Though I am not attending, a significant number of USGBC member companies and affiliates are, and I know they will share what they learn with their colleagues and broader networks. This is the power of the USGBC community—we are all in this together, and we benefit from the wide array of interests and expertise at the table.

When members of the USGBC family connect with practitioners working in other disciplines, like health care, amazing things happen. This is why we’ve launched efforts like the Integrative Process for Health Promotion pilot credit, to encourage our strong base of members working in the design and construction industries to draw on the working knowledge of aligned professions, like public health.

Buildings exist for people. Green buildings exist to promote human health and well-being, and to preserve and protect the natural environment for generations to come. When I see the work being done by NYU Langone to ensure the resilience of their energy systems, or the efforts of INOVA to make sustainability a part of their daily operations or the forethought of the Spaulding Rehabilitation Center in Boston, designing for sea level rise, I know that the green building movement can continue to look to the healthcare sector for leadership.

To all the USGBC members attending HFSE this week in Austin, I hope it’s been an excellent week of education and inspiration.