Today's Veterinary Business

DEC 2018

Today’s Veterinary Business provides information and resources designed to help veterinarians and office management improve the financial performance of their practices, allowing them to increase the level of patient care and client service.

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14 Today's Veterinary Business Business Business CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM When it comes to a project's environmental impact, much is made about building-rating programs such as LEED and Green Globes. People equate a high rating with a good environmentally sound design and assume that no other steps can be taken. While LEED and Green Globes are legitimate rating programs, many people don't know that nonprofit organizations — the U.S. Green Building Council and the Green Building Initiative, respectively — administer them. That in itself is not a bad thing, and there can be value in demonstrat- ing to clients that your hospital earned a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) plaque, but understand that the cost of registration and processing alone can run from $10,000 to $20,000. By Paul Gladysz, AIA, NCARB, CSI, ICC The typical hospital owner is more interested in putting that kind of investment toward some- thing with more tangible, sustain- able results. Given the veterinary business model, only the rare proj- ect can support such an expense. What can you do to go "green" and lessen your hospital's environ- mental impact? Over the years, my firm has settled on a strategy of sensible sustainability by focusing on features that offer operational savings through energy reduction and more efficient use of labor. We look at the return on investment of installed building materials and systems and identify ways to cut energy consumption, use fewer materials and reduce landfill waste. If one looks at the total U.S. energy use, fully 48 percent is attributable to buildings. What you might not realize is that spread over the average building's lifespan, only 10 percent of that energy is embodied in the construction. The rest is in the operational energy — lights, heating and cooling, and the equipment that people use. If you want to make a mean- ingful impact, focus on operational reduction. Is it better to use an air conditioning system manufac- tured locally to save on the energy needed to ship it? Not if importing a much more efficient unit will generate additional operational reductions. While you can calculate a monetary return on investment, the real benefit is the tons of car- bon that won't be cast into the air. So, what are the strategies? Let's ex- plore what hospital owners can do and still remain within their budget. Proper Siting For new construction, we have the ability to orient the building so that it avoids unnecessary energy loads. This means a solar orientation relative to the window placements and one that minimiz- es summer heat gain and takes advantage of winter sunshine. Higher Efficiency Exterior Materials Green roofs were and still are all the rage, but we find they do not perform better than light-reflective "cool" roofs. The more infrared light a roof reflects, the lower your use of cooling energy. Similarly, wall and 1 2 Diffused sunlight brightens a north-facing veterinary clinic lobby. No direct sunshine means the room stays cooler. Sustainable and resilient Environmentally friendly hospitals help pay for themselves through lower energy costs. The right light fixtures and appliances and even the building's orientation are major factors.

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