Sustainability in healthcare: A step towards green revolution

Sustainability is a robust concept that has proven its worth across a range of different industries including energy, agriculture, forestry, chemicals, construction and many others. Talking about the healthcare industry, there are evidences that the current health systems of nations around the world will be unsustainable if revolution does not take place in next 15 years.

With the global population increasing at an unbelievable pace, energy consumption is projected to go up by 200 per cent. If the projections for the sustainability trends are anything to go by and with rampant environmental degradation along with depleted energy & natural resources, the world would need another planet to sustain life on earth by 2050. If appropriate measures are not taken today, sustainability will remain a distant dream. With various industry sectors across the globe taking notable efforts towards achieving green revolution, this article analyses the sustainability trends and issues in the healthcare industry with focus on sustainable architecture.   Sustainability is a robust concept that has proven its worth across a range of different industries including energy, agriculture, forestry, chemicals, construction and many others. Talking about the healthcare industry, there are evidences that the current health systems of nations around the world will be unsustainable if revolution does not take place in next 15 years. There is ample scope of conserving energy in the healthcare sector. However, a number of energy conservation opportunities have remained untapped due to various reasons. The key barrier has been low awareness among the healthcare professionals and limited availability of in-house expertise to implement energy saving plans. Good energy management structure can bring in not only an energy efficient culture within the hospital but also provide substantial reduction in expenses without compromising on the quality of healthcare delivery.Benefits of Sustainable HealthcareThe construction of conventional buildings consumes billions of tons of raw materials and a tremendous amount of energy, generates significant waste, as well as contributes toxic emissions to the air. Considering the impact this has on the environment and thereby on the human health, there are significant opportunities to improve environmental quality and human health through encouraging the concept of green buildings. Green buildings conserve natural resources, generate less waste, use less toxic chemicals and provide healthier space for occupants.Apart from the environmental benefits, there are many financial benefits of incorporating sustainable designs. One area of financial savings obviously relates to decreased demands for energy and water.Further, materials used for sustainable or green buildings might be a little costly than those used for the conventional buildings (due to their recent introduction and relatively limited initial market), but these materials have benefits above and beyond their sustainable features in terms of maintenance, life span etc. It is learnt that standard particle board millwork, doors, fiberglass insulation, paints, adhesives & sealants are all commonly made with urea formaldehyde and other volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are known or suspected carcinogens or asthma triggers. Hence, agricultural board cabinets (wheat board & strawboard) and recycled denim for insulation, along with low-VOC paints and adhesives are materials to be opted for. Building materials that contain recycled items and that are themselves recyclable are becoming more readily available.Read more at http://drprem.com/dr-prems-article/sustainability-in-healthcare-a-step-towards-green-revolution.html

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