Sustainable BIM design paves path for green future of a healthcare facility

By Bhushan Avsatthi / Special to Healthcare Facilities Today
March 27, 2015

 A wave of green building design and sustainability has swept across the construction industry, and it is now becoming more aware of the fact that their contribution will prove to be significant in shaping the future of energy worldwide. The thing about green buildings is that they will help you recover your investments faster than you think. And these benefits will be more visible in complex structures like hospitals and health care facilities where energy consumption is high.

Green hospital building designs across the world:

The Med Health Centre, Dubai - First Green Hospital in UAE

The healthcare facilities star feature is a solar powered hot water system that can heat up 1000 liters per day. The system also collects condensation from AC’s and uses it for irrigation. Besides, nearly 30 percent of the materials for construction were locally produced and 14% recycled content was used.  

Florida Hospital Waterman

The Florida hospital is one of its kinds, and is built - rather interweaved into the rich landscapes that provide a natural habitat to several endangered species of birds. This is the place that redefines holistic healing. The most remarkable feature of this building is that, after a complete bird flight investigation, non-reflective glass has been used to build the exteriors. Hence here man and nature beautifully coexist. The birds can fly their natural helicopter route pattern freely without any hindrance.

Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital

This is a LEED certified Hospital design. The sprawling property across 160 acres of land uses natural light for heating and cooling purposes. The facility also promotes rainwater harvesting and makes the best use of this resource. The 191 bed hospital building is apt for a holistic approach towards healing and houses all the modern facilities for patient care.

The concept of a green hospital design thus, extends beyond just energy and water savings. This is because; today hospitals and healthcare facilities have a more holistic approach towards healing. BIM plays a pivotal role in helping architects and contractors build health care facility that fits into this sustainability philosophy.

Realizing the future of green building design for healthcare facilities via BIM capabilities:

• Lean construction

Lean and BIM are a synergic fit, and BIM directly contributes towards achieving Lean goals, where wastage of time, talent, resources, etc. is curbed. How? By making the construction processes extremely efficient and providing contractors higher control over the workflows. The emphasis lies on performance measurement and performance optimization. Besides, when we talk of lean construction for healthcare facility, streamlining supply chain of materials, reducing overall waste, and delivery cost and time efficiency via efficient design and development is important.

• Building energy analysis

BIM is a great way to understand and analyze energy requirements and its utilization within a facility. A health care facility is occupied by several occupants such as doctors, nurses, backend staff, patients, relatives of patients and volunteers. It also houses several sophisticated equipments that are critical for diagnosis, treatment and healing. Hence the energy requirements of healthcare facility are more critical and higher than any other building.  BIM allows experts to inspect and analyze the building energy consumption and seek opportunities to optimize the building design to reduce the energy requirement. 

• NZEB wave

Energy resources are dwindling fast and the entire world is experiencing energy crunch. In such a scenario, it is very important to shift to renewable resources and fulfill energy requirements from them. Architects and engineers are increasingly focusing on developing buildings that are self-reliant for their energy needs. The concept of NZEB germinated from this idea. NZEB net zero energy building is the one that produces as much energy as it utilizes. BIM supports this concept and aids in designing buildings that are greener and take the concept of sustainability to a higher level.

• Energy certifications

Hospital buildings are more complex; they require more energy and generate more waste than any average commercial or residential building. These buildings need several approvals and certifications to be deemed fit for healthcare and to be deemed as green buildings. BIM plays a significant role here. BIM provides a complete documentation of the energy requirements, energy consumption, waste management etc. and hence imparts higher level of transparency for the regulatory body. This integrated project delivery model is allows regulatory agencies to gain all information about energy utilization in a building and also helps in verification of building energy codes.

Bhushan Avsatthi works as an Associate Director with Hi-Tech Outsourcing Services. 


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