Human and Environmental Health:Sustainable Design for the NICU
The 6th edition of the Recommended Standards for Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU) Design includes, for the first time, concerns related to sustainability. Environmental responsibility in healthcare had its beginnings in the late-1980s with an awareness of the toxic qualities of mercury and the need to remove it from hospital environments. Since that time, environmental activism in healthcare has grown to include efforts to construct 'green' buildings, incorporate sustainable practice and apply environmentally responsible purchasing. Language inserted into Standards 8 and 18–21 is intended to extend sustainable design and practice not only in the design of space in the NICU but also in the selection of materials such as floor surfaces, wall coverings, furnishings and ceiling finishes. This paper includes a number of resources that will not only assist with application of the standards, but also with expanding knowledge of issues related to the development of healthcare settings that are not harmful to either human or environmental health.