The medium-term future of our health centers and hospitals is already being designed in countries like Germany, Austria and Spain.
Normally, these constructions, besides consuming a great deal of energy –some 22% more than other buildings– emit the greatest amount of greenhouse gasses per square meter. Making these blocks into buildings that consume almost nothing is one of the challenges posed by the European Union (European Directive 2010/31).
In addition, according to statistics of the World Health Organization, an average 8.7% of patients in a hospital have healthcare-associated or in-hospital infections (those acquired as a result of their stay in the hospital).
The European Commission has thus determined that hospitals must comply with Norm UNE 171340, which lays out the requirements that should be met for air-conditioning in these critical areas so that it will guarantee quality air.
To meet these very ambitious aims there must be an exhaustive analysis of occupancy (by using meta-data) as well as a control of air quality at all levels: energy, CO2, volatile organic compounds and micro-organisms.
A good example of this is the new health center that’s being built in Lodosa by architect Sara Velázquez Arizmendi and the Navarra Regional Government. Given the lack of Spanish legislation on the subject, the builders applied European Directive 2010/31: it will consume almost nothing, and already contains the norms that will be necessary to regulate it.
Meeting these goals would give us health centers where the risk of contracting new diseases would be minimal. They would also be very comfortable without adding any energy costs to society.