MA may require hospitals, nursing homes to build 'green'

If new regulations proposed by Massachusetts health authorities are approved, future hospitals and nursing home building projects would have to be environmentally friendly to win state approval. If the measure passes--and state officials seem enthusiastic about the idea--Massachusetts will be the first state in the U.S. to link up the use of green building standards and construction approvals for healthcare facilities. The facilities would have to meet "practical" green building standards, but not live up to the highest possible ratings, which could be very expensive. The basic codes proposed by the state include using energy-conserving building materials, automatically-controlled water faucets and bicycle racks to encourage more car-free commuting. The idea is that such green designs not only assist in preserving the environment, they also improve the health of patients, according to state public health commissioner John Auerbach.

Fortunately for Massachusetts health executives, the green building trend already has taken root voluntarily. In fact, three of the biggest hospital expansions in New England integrate green construction standards such as foliage on roofs, windows that let light into interior corridors and floors that don't need to be cleaned with noxious solvents. For example, when Brigham and Women's Hospital opens its new $380 million addition within the coming month, it will include rubber floors that don't require solvent cleaners. Changes like these added about $2 million to construction costs, administrators said.

To learn more about the proposed green regulations:
- read this article from The Boston Globe

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