Salus journal

Healthy Planet. Healthy People.

Healthcare / Sustainability

European Healthcare Design 2018

Re-imagining ‘regenerative’ healthcare for a circular economy (EHD2018 P39)

By Anuradha Sabherwal 08 Jun 2018 0

This poster presentation explores the role of health-promoting buildings in their larger urban context, and how they provide benefits to the natural environment as much as to the communities in which they’re embedded.

Abstract

Re-imagining ‘regenerative’ healthcare for a circular economy
If statistics are to be believed, the world population is increasing every 38 days, equivalent to the size of London’s population. With high birth rates and an ageing population, we live longer and are more likely to experience long-term conditions and co-morbidity, placing increasing demands on healthcare facilities and infrastructure. Yet our resources are finite and increasing energy demands, waste and water consumption patterns pose seemingly unsurmountable challenges in achieving global sustainability targets and energy/emissions reduction targets by 2030.

The UK has set ambitious targets for reducing carbon emissions and for reducing energy usage generally, in order to move away from the use of fossil fuels and towards non-fossil or renewable energy sources. This involves, among other things, moving towards net-zero hospitals.

The concept of a circular economy involves keeping resources in use for as long as possible through their recovery and re-use, and radically increasing resource efficiencies. It also extends to promoting innovative partnerships in communities that take inspiration from how nature uses radical resource efficiency, closed loops of energy, materials and waste, and use of renewable energy sources to save the environment as well as create economies of scale.

The healthcare sector is an enormous force for market transformation to sustainable, high-performance buildings and operation. By virtue of this building typology being energy- and resource-intensive, as well as being a crucial social asset that supports human health in any city, it’s imperative that we design healthcare buildings such that their procurement and operation yield environmental, economic and social benefits.

This poster presentation explores the role of health-promoting buildings in their larger urban context, and how they provide benefits to the natural environment as much as to the communities in which they’re embedded. We explore three questions on how they can achieve this:

  • What aspects of designing health and wellbeing as part of healthcare design can share benefits with local urban and infrastructure design and planning?
  • How can healthcare buildings support the concept of circular economy while creating healthier environments through a conscious awareness of their resource and energy-consumption patterns? Can they go beyond a “do less harm” approach, towards a regenerative and restorative approach that promotes self-sustaining “net positive benefit” in design and operation? Here, we will study the various metabolic cycles of healthcare facilities in an attempt to determine their real impact on the environment and identify opportunities for innovation.
  • Can healthcare buildings perform a greater role in achieving global sustainability targets by acting as triggers for community development and forming partnerships with local districts for sharing resources/systems to achieve greater resiliency and efficiency within the constraints of building codes? Here, we will explore: how health-promoting buildings can form the heart of new urban developments; and how they can play a role in micro-generation of energy, closed-loop sharing of resources that promote access over ownership, and the concept of 2030 districts etc. Are there circular business models that can take root in healthcare?


Organisations involved