The ROI of Sustainability

Green Flooring gains grounds

Improving the health of patient populations and promoting community wellness have become touchpoints for many hospital CEOs and clinical leaders. And while much of this focus has health care executives and clinical leaders looking outward to the communities they serve, a growing number of savvy facilities managers have shifted to a from-the-ground-up focus.

Many facilities managers are seeking out and specifying flooring, furniture, finishes and other products that contain natural materials. In this installment of Interiors, contributing writer Amy Eagle examines sustainable products that do more than provide a solid return on investment — and often at the same or lower first cost than traditional products.

As some of the many experts who have contributed insights for this report note, sustainable products can achieve such vital objectives as improving indoor-air quality; helping to prevent slips and falls by patients, caregivers and visitors; and helping to replace the use of harmful chemicals with more environmentally friendly alternatives.

Some hospitals report that it’s possible to save as much as 30 percent by opting for furniture without flame-retardant chemicals, for example.

In our second report, we assess key trends that find many flooring manufacturers opting for natural materials to produce their products, leading to lower life-cycle costs for the products while often contributing to improved indoor-air quality and safety in facilities.

From rubber flooring products to highly durable carpeting options that can reduce landfill waste by requiring fewer resources in manufacturing, hospitals have a wider array of sustainable flooring options.

By continuing this focus on improving the environment of care delivery by choosing sustainable materials, facilities managers can contribute to their organizations’ bottom lines and influence the future of product designs for hospitals.



A note of acknowledgment

The editors thank the many vendors and health care design firms who participated in this supplement. The following sources provided images used in this project:

  • Ecore, Lancaster, Pa.
  • Forbo International, Hazelton, Pa.
  • Hackensack (N.J.) University Medical Center
  • Health Product Declaration Collaborative, Wakefield, Mass.
  • nora Systems Inc., Salem, N.H.
  • Patcraft, Cartersville, Ga.
  • Perkins+Will, New York City office
  • Tsoi/Kobus & Associates, Cambridge, Mass.