While hundreds of health care buildings have achieved the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design certification over the past decade, sustainability still seems to be a slowly evolving concept for many health care organizations.

This wariness likely has intensified over the past few years as hospital leaders have faced unrelenting downward pressure on spending, and hard data on the cost-benefits of many sustainable initiatives have been difficult to find.

As real-world examples of completed projects and their resulting savings begin to gain wider circulation, however, proponents are hoping the question for a health care organization will shift from whether it can afford to adopt sustainability to whether it can afford not to.

A new guide from the American Hospital Association's (AHA's) Hospitals in Pursuit of Excellence initiative helps to advance this progression by allowing hospital leaders to explore options and understand the strategic power of environmental sustainability.

Produced in collaboration with the AHA's American Society for Healthcare Engineering, "Environmental Sustainability in Hospitals: The Value of Efficiency" includes case studies and examples from hospitals and systems that are benefiting from sustainability efforts.

Covering opportunities in energy, water, supply chain, waste management and commissioning/retrocommissioning, the 33-page report makes a compelling case that health care organizations of all types, sizes and locales can improve their financial performance through sustainability.

To download the report and learn how your organization can benefit from this evolution, go to www.hpoe.org/environmentalsustainability.