Establishing a framework for the design, construction and operation of new high-performance health care facilities is the goal of a standard being developed by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) in collaboration with the American Society for Healthcare Engineering (ASHE).

Proposed ASHRAE/ASHE Standard 189.3P, "Standard for the Design, Construction and Operation of Sustainable High-Performance Health Care Facilities," would provide the procedures, methods and documentation for new high-performance sustainable health care buildings.

"This proposed standard codifies the requirements to become high-performance for those jurisdictions that are adopting a higher performing health care facility standard," says Michael Sheerin, P.E., LEED AP BD+C, chairman, Standard 189.3 committee, and principal and director of health care engineering, TLC Engineering for Architecture, Orlando, Fla.

The proposed standard will draw upon ANSI/ASHRAE/USGBC/IES Standard 189.1, "Standard for the Design of High-Performance, Green Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings," while accommodating the unique factors that impact health care facilities, he says.

Standard 189.3P would apply to patient care areas and related support areas in hospitals, nursing homes and licensed outpatient facilities. The standard covers key topical areas of site sustainability, water use efficiency, energy efficiency, indoor environmental quality and the building's impact on the atmosphere, materials and resources. Additionally, the standard has a special section to address the emissions, effluents and pollution.

The comment period closed Jan. 21. The standard committee is responding to the comments to determine if they will be included in the next version of the proposal before it is republished for further comment later in the year.