Five buildings in Quebec and Manitoba have received the first certifications in the new healthcare module introduced by Building Owners and Managers Association Building Environmental Standards (BOMA BESt).
The BOMA Quebec initiative was designed to meet the specific environmental challenges of the healthcare sector, and the goal is to provide managers and operators of hospitals, medical offices and long-term care facilities with a tool specifically designed to face their unique opportunities and challenges and assess and certify their facilities’ environmental performance and management.
A technical advisory committee comprised of BOMA Quebec’s André Chalifour, Synergie Santé Environnement’s Jérôme Ribesse, University Health Network’s Edward Rubinstein, McGill University Health Centre’s Serge Sevigny and BOMA Canada’s Hazel Sutton developed the sixth BOMA BESt certification module through 2013 and 2014.
A BOMA Quebec initiative
“Many hospitals in Quebec had been certifying with BOMA BESt using the office module, but really wanted to start benchmarking themselves against their peers,” says Sutton. “They got together and demonstrated that there was a large demand in Quebec for this type of assessment, especially for a sector which does not typically benefit from large influxes of revenue.”
Several iterations of a draft questionnaire were sent out for stakeholder feedback and many individuals contributed comments and suggestions to improve the tool and ensure questions were clear. Participants from nine buildings in Quebec, Ontario and Manitoba were then recruited for a three-month pilot project to insure the applicability and accessibility of the tool in meeting the needs of eligible building types.
Among the new elements introduced for the healthcare module were examinations of: capture rates for waste; the presence of pollution control systems on medical waste incinerators; the presence of a healing environment for patients, such as healing gardens and other patient-centric features; sustainable food purchasing policies and practices; and climate-related hazards being explicitly discussed and considered when developing, revisiting or updating the facility’s risk assessments and emergency management plans.
Hospitals are always open
Hospitals never close and 63 per cent of their energy use is dedicated to heating, ventilation, air conditioning and lighting, so implementing comprehensive conservation measures can lead to a 30-per-cent reduction in energy consumption and large cost savings.
“Going through the assessment enables applicants to consider their building’s operations in a holistic manner,” says Sutton.
“It also means that various departments within the hospital are learning to communicate with each other even more in order to further reduce their impact. This is especially true for waste management practices since BOMA BESt for Health Care requires that all departments participate in the practice.”
The first five healthcare buildings to be certified are:
- PsycHealth Building in Winnipeg (Level 2)
- Childrens Hospitals in Winnipeg (Level 2)
- CLSC Simonne-Monet-Chartrand in Longueuil, Que. (Level 3)
- Hôpital Pierre-Boucher in Longueuil (Level 3)
- Montreal General Hospital in Montreal (Level 4)
Three other buildings are completing the assessment and applying for certification.