The healthcare industry is one of the largest consumers of resources in the world that account for 5% of global greenhouse gas emissions. But what does the future of sustainable healthcare spaces look like?
Today's Cleanstone Sample 013 is made from 100% medicinal plastic syringes used for dispensing medicine from Auckland City Hospital. The black is the rubber tips inside the syringe and the multi speckles of colour are the paper labels. Low carbon. 100% recycled plastic syringes - nothing else. 100% recyclable at the end of life.
By reducing healthcare industry's environmental impact with circular materials, when done right it can help support wellbeing for patients and staff as well as saving money in the long run.
Sustainability and circularity start early, at the design decisions level and there are a number of things that designers can do to create sustainable healthcare spaces - below are 4 tips:
Use sustainable materials. There are a variety of sustainable materials that can be used in healthcare spaces, such as recycled plastic panels, bamboo, and cork. These materials can help to reduce the environmental impact of the space and create a more healthy and comfortable environment for patients and staff.
Design energy-efficient buildings. Sustainable healthcare spaces should be designed to minimise energy consumption. This can be achieved through a variety of means, such as using energy-efficient appliances, installing solar panels, and designing the building to take advantage of natural light and ventilation.
Create spaces that promote healing. Sustainable healthcare spaces should be designed to promote the healing and well-being of patients and staff. This can be achieved by creating spaces that are comfortable, stress-free, and connected to nature - consider textures, colours and forms that ease tension in people.
Follow the principles of circular economy. The circular economy is a model of production and consumption that aims to minimise waste and maximise the value of resources. Designers, architects, and businesses in property can apply the principles of the circular economy to the fit out of healthcare spaces by using recycled materials, designing spaces that are adaptable and flexible, and partnering with other businesses and organizations to share resources.
By making healthcare spaces sustainable, we can reduce energy consumption by up to 50% (2019, "Global Status Report: Buildings and Climate Change."), improve patient outcomes by up to 20% (2017 Journal "Health Environments Research & Design.") and even save healthcare organisations up to 10% on operating costs (2018 journal "Healthcare Management Forum.").
If you found any of this useful, I run a green building materials company called Critical. and we're passionate about supporting brands and designers create beautiful and sustainable spaces using 100% plastic waste. If you would like to request a materials sample box or book a conversation with me, send me a DM!