The conversation on sustainable design has evolved in past decades, moving beyond addressing a single building system or specific material to searching for system-wide strategies aimed at driving carbon reduction, building resiliency, and improving community health.

Part of this change is a natural outcome of the growing awareness of environmental issues, such as carbon footprint, material toxicity, climate change, and resource consumption. But another force is at play, as well—healthcare organizations are seeing their role not only as caring for the sick but contributing to the total health management of their communities. As such, they’re looking for design strategies, building tools, and data that impact their design and construction decisions and support that endeavor.

To answer these needs, healthcare design firms are arming themselves with new tools and resources to help facilitate informed discussions, whether proving the value of green building certification or the connection between certain building materials and indoor air quality and occupant health.

Healthcare Design asked sustainability leaders in the field to shed light on the top design challenges on their minds right now. In this special report, they share their input on those issues, the drivers behind them, and the solutions necessary to solve them.

Kim Shinn, Principal wizard, TLC Engineering Solutions, Sustainable design challenge: Proving the value of green building certification in healthcare

Jean Hansen, Sustainable Principal, Senior Professional Associate, HDR, Sustainable design challenge: Sustainable material selection for buildings

Robin Guenther, Principal, Perkins and Will, Sustainable design challenge: Defining a more inclusive living design framework

Mara Baum, Sustainable Design Leader, Health and Wellness, Principal, HOK, Sustainable design challenge: Minimizing carbon and health impacts through building materials