MakerDocsDC: Introducing doctors to green building and LEED at USGBC World Headquarters

The best part of MakerDocsDC this month, hosted at the US Green Building Council (@USGBC) World Headquarters in Washington, DC was when Matt Trowbridge, MD (@mtrowbr) and Kelly Worden, MPH(c) (@k_worden) asked the group if they knew what LEED was and very few raised their hands :). Teachable total health moment!

LEED, of course stands for Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (okay, I looked up the acronym) and is the certification that building projects receive for green building leadership. I think of it as a marker of thoughtfulness in building design and operation, and it is also becoming more synonymous for building spaces that are healthy for people and the planet. 

It is definitely thought of this way by Kaiser Permanente (see: Kaiser Permanente Share | Kaiser Permanente to Pursue Minimum of LEED Gold for all New Major Projects).

Besides exposing us to the impact that building design and operation can have on human health (huge, especially since most humans spend their time in buildings, and not in health care buildings), we looked at some of the ways LEED is being connected to other dimensions of health. Gautami Palanki introduced us to the new LEED dynamic plaque (see: LEED Dynamic Plaque), which measures aspects of the built environment on an ongoing basis (that’s the dynamic part). So, a building that’s designed for health or achieves a certain LEED certification can see that certification change based on different dimensions, such as travel to and from it, and more emergingly, “human experience.”

As part of the discussion, we were encouraged to look/read the book “The Circle, by Dave Eggers” (already downloaded from my local library – I support the library!) for another take on measuring experience and the limits of human privacy. All in a day’s MakerDocsDC, which now includes a dentist, by the way 🙂 . Thanks again to Matt, Kelly, Gautami and US Green Building Council for connecting more of the profession that leads in health care to leading in health.


Ted Eytan, MD