The Green Room
By Beth Daley, Globe Staff
We all know the institutional hospital room. Stark lighting. Barren feel. While it's supposed to help make you feel better, it can sometimes make you feel worse.
Here comes the green hospital room. Low flow faucets. Flooring made with renewable materials. Non-toxic items make up the ceiling, bed and walls. There is even a balcony to connect to nature because research shows it can help with healing.
Designed by the architectural firm Anshen + Allen, International Facility Management Association and partnered with construction manager Skanska USA Building, the 400-square foot green patient lab was designed to demonstrate that green materials and technologies can be incorporated into hospital construction - and not always at exorbitant prices. The design team took some pointers from environmental psychology to design a room that can help patients and family feel more comfortable and in control.
"The overall intent was to create a concept and a dialogue with health care facility providers to what could they do in terms of sustainability... with patient rooms,'' said Joe Reilly, project executive for health care for Skanska. He declined to give a price for the room, saying "it's about ideas and thinking outside the box."
Green characteristics include a smart heating system that change the volume of air in a room as needed, high-efficiency glass, LED lights and insulation with an emphasis on natural light. Materials low in volatile organic compound emissions were used throughout the room and vinyl was eliminated.
To make the room feel less institutionalized, warm neutral colors were used - and a wood finish vanity was built in the bathroom to create a hospitality feel. There is a family section of the room to mimic at home living, including internet access, sleeper sofa and extra seating.
Small things were designed to help patients feel more in control such as a marking board to record when doctors or nurses are going to visit and a flat screen monitor for medical records to allow the patient to follow along with the doctor.
No one wants a hospital visit but if you had to have one, the green patient room just might make you feel a bit better being there.