The architectural firm Anshen+Allen knows its way around a hospital room, and has built a demonstration of the "Green Patient Room, benchmarking sustainable designs using green materials and new technologies." They brought their travelling show to IIDEX in Toronto and I interviewed Suzanne Drake of the San Francisco office.
It isn't just about green materials and fixtures, but a holistic approach that changes the hospital experience. There are zones for visiting families; "studies show that families who visit frequently stay longer and are involved in patient care help improve healing times and patient well-being."
-Opening windows and terraces: "views and access to nature help patients recover more quickly".
-Cleaner surfaces, even wood panelling on the ceiling; "a non-institutional aesthetically soothing interior environment to mitigate patient anxiety."
-better patient control of lighting, ventilation, electrochromatic glass.
All of the materials, fixtures and fittings are chosen to "minimize the room's impact on the natural environment."
Having been in some pretty crummy and uninviting hospital rooms, I can see easily how much better an experience this would be. No doubt it takes up more space and costs more money, but if the investment in green gets people better faster and out the door sooner, its worth it. ::Anshen+Allen