The topic of sustainable, energy-efficient building is one that inherently goes hand-in-hand with healthcare, as organizations across the country battle to balance the inevitable contradiction that is at play on a daily basis inside their facilities.

That contradiction lies in the fact that their operation often results in the massive consumption of natural resources, use of chemicals, and creation of loads of waste—all of which can have a negative health impact on the general public, the same public hospitals strive to heal and keep healthy.

So when you hear phrases like “special recognition to the health, safety, and welfare impacts of buildings” and “opportunities to design, construct, and operate high-performance buildings that reflect concern for these impacts,” you can’t help but make a connection to healthcare and the challenges faced in the built environment.

These are words that also define High-Performance Building Week, which is taking place right now, May 14-19, 2012. The event is overseen by the High-Performance Building Congressional Caucus Coalition (HPBCCC), a 150-plus-member organization consortium established by ASHRAE in 2008.

The HPBCCC works with its namesake congressional caucus to promote and showcase best practices in building design and focuses on issues including:

  • Accessibility;
  • Aesthetics;
  • Cost-effectiveness;
  • Functionality;
  • Historic preservation;
  • Productivity;
  • Safety and security; and
  • Sustainability.

In terms of this weeks’ events, slated are two congressional briefings providing basic information on high-performing buildings as well as telecommunications in buildings; and a dialogue among built environment community members on the breadth of building design, labeling, and metrics.

Also scheduled is the High Performance Building Awards, which will be presented on May 15 to Dennis Stanke, fellow ASHRAE, application engineer at Trane, a brand of Ingersoll Rand, and Ravi Shah, director of urban development for the city of Carrollton, Texas—congrats to them both!

Stanke chairs the committee overseeing ANSI/ASHRAE/USGBC/IES Standard 189.1, Standard for the Design of High-Performance, Green Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings, while Ravi chairs the International Code Council’s (ICC) Sustainable Building Technology Committee and is a member of the ICC Board of Directors.

To see a schedule of the week’s events, go here.

And for those of you on the frontlines trying to tackle these issues at home, share your success stories in the comments below. How can healthcare facilities better battle these daily contradictions and work toward higher-performing buildings?