Green building innovator advocates for sustainable hospital design

By Sustainability Matters Staff
Tuesday, 05 September, 2017

Green building innovator Gail Vittori is visiting Australia this week, spreading her message of how sustainable design can boost efficiencies in hospitals while actively contributing to better patient outcomes.

Described by Time magazine as an “innovator building a greener world”, Vittori has been a cornerstone of the green building movement in the United States for three decades. As co-director of the Center for Maximum Potential Building Systems and chair of Green Business Certification Inc, she has coupled her passion for sustainability with healthcare design to earn several awards, including the first LEED Platinum rating for a hospital anywhere in the world (the Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas).

The co-author of Sustainable Healthcare Architecture, Vittori said sustainable design in a healthcare setting is not a cost but a “value-add”.

“A green hospital can create an environment that reduces the stress levels of medical practitioners, which measurably improves their performance and their delivery of patient care,” she said. “It also contributes to increased retention, which correlates with reduced turnover, saving dollars and ensuring smoother overall operations.

“Meanwhile, investments in improved energy and water performance lowers operating costs, resulting in more dollars that can be redirected to patient care.”

Vittori said “compelling” evidence shows that investment in sustainable healthcare design can be achieved for “nominal” cost premiums. She stated, “A sustainable hospital can be built on budget or at less than a 5% premium”, claiming that the benefits that accrue — including improved patient outcomes, reduced length of stay, enhanced staff recruitment and retention, and lower operating costs — more than offset the initial investments.

The Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) is currently collaborating on several large-scale healthcare projects, including the Sunshine Coast University Hospital and the Northern Beaches Hospital in Sydney, which are both registered to achieve Green Star ratings. The council will be hosting the webinar ‘A dose of sustainable design’ on 8 September from 12.30 to 1.30 pm, during which time Vittori will be sharing case studies of excellence in sustainable health care.

To register for the webinar, visit

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