WRHA Women’s Hospital - Lean to be Green and Healthy
Integrated Designs Ins. is proud to be the LEED and sustainable design consultants on the Winnipeg’s Regional Health Authority (WRHA) Women’s Hospital. Now under construction, this facility is about 4H Performance: Creating Healthy, Healing, High-Performance Healthcare Facilities.
Healthy, Healing Environment for Patients and Family
New best practices were created for the design of this healthy, healing, healthcare facility. The Women’s Hospital is designed with knowledge of its users and their specific needs; in this case creating a facility using gender-based design to accommodate women of all ages; a large percentage of which are aboriginal patients commuting from remote communities with their extended families. This need is addressed by including both smaller private rooms and larger rooms to accommodate families.
A healing environment for healthcare buildings describes a physical setting and organizational culture that supports patients and families through the stresses imposed by illness, hospitalization, medical visits, the process of healing, and sometimes, bereavement. Healing environments enable patients and families to cope with and transcend illness. Spaces are designed to be nurturing and therapeutic, and most importantly, to reduce stress by connecting patients with nature in the treatment setting.
A Quality Productive Working Environment for Staff
In addition to the principles outlined in the Green Guide for Healthcare, our team is introducing the concept of creating a sustainable advantage for the WRHA by developing facilities that attract and retain healthcare staff.
As stated in the article The Sustainable Advantage of LEED Healthcare Facilities, as an investment in people, a quality indoor environment helps to motivate employees to come to work while contributing to productivity and the quality of work. Studies have shown that buildings with high quality indoor environments result in:
- Workforce productivity gains of 5–16%,
- Reduced health facility recovery times by 2.5 days,
- Reduced sick days, and
- Reduced risk of infections.
According to Professor Kellert in the text Biophillic Design: The Theory, Science and Practice of Bringing Buildings to Life, isolation and alienation from the natural world in urban areas threatens both human health and development. As design facilitators for the WRHA Women’s Hospital project, IDI is introducing the relatively new concept of Biophilic Design by incorporating places of refuge for staff to recharge and de-stress and to increase morale and productivity in the work environment by connecting people with nature. The current Women’s Hospital design will have views and access to a green roof and healing garden, tree planting will provide screening from traffic, and the design of indoor plants and water features will create relaxing spaces.
Quality Environments on a Sustainable Operations Budget
Healthcare facilities by design move a considerable amount of air to meet recommended guidelines for air exchange rates that contribute to improving the quality of the indoor environment. They are also one of the largest operating expenses. An optimized strategy for lowering operating costs as well as green house gas emissions is to use the most energy efficient equipment on the market, design systems with low-pressure drops, and move only the appropriate amount of air based on the use of the space.
A ‘hotel occupancy’ type approach is being adopted for the WRHA Women’s Hospital to adjust temperatures and air exchange volumes based on room occupancy and the intended use of the space. Heat recovery wheels will recover heat off of the exhaust stream to significantly reduce operating costs and green house gas emissions.
Integrated Designs Inc. is committed to creating healthy, healing, high-performance environments that connect people to nature.
Kellert, S.R., J. Heerwagen, M. Mador. Biophilic Design: The Theory, Science and Practice of Bringing Buildings to Life. John Wiley & Sons