Ecological Footprint Analysis for Military Healthcare Facility Design and Construction - Case Study
The world’s rapid economic expansion demands the construction of many new buildings annually. Nearly 4.7 million office buildings existed in 1999, and each year since then approximately 170,000 commercial buildings have been constructed and nearly 44,000 demolished. This level of expansion creates an unprecedented demand for land and natural resources. Furthermore, buildings are prominent energy users. According to the U.S. Green Building Council, buildings in the United States account for 70% of total energy consumption. For the healthcare industry; one of the fastest growing sectors in the US economy, the situation is even more acute. Hospitals are among the most energy-intensive commercial buildings, rated as the second highest energy users in the nation.
This study explores strategies that help the healthcare industry to embrace sustainable development by understanding the impacts that building design and construction have on the natural environments. This research compares the ecological footprint of a sustainable approach to healthcare construction to a baseline level or code compliance design. The relative impacts of energy use reduction, waste management and land use serve as a basis for defining the carrying capacity of the case study. One of the focal elements of the study is an assessment of the impact of carbon emissions that is related specifically to energy reduction practices.
An ecological footprint assessment helps to establish a common language for defining sustainability and provides a strategic management tool to help prioritize decisions made in building construction and aid in the policy-making process. Such analysis can also be used to inform future hospital designs by encouraging restorative site planning developed to maximize the ecological capacity of a site and ensure proper selection of construction methods. Consequently, future healthcare-related building design and construction should focus on long-range impact planning and mitigation strategies to further energy efficiency and reduce the impact of carbon emissions.
Advisor:Dr. Christensen, Norm
School Location:USA - North Carolina
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Keywords:ecological footprint biocapacity healthcare design sustainability evidence based federal mandates
Date of Publication:04/24/2009