Buildings and Grounds

This section of HERC provides information on good practices that reduce environmental impacts caused by construction and operations of assisted living/nursing home communities. Links are provided to further investigate options and to locate guidance documents and points of contact.

Green Building

"Green building" refers to good design and management practices in all phases of building construction and operation to promote a healthy environment and energy efficiency. The leading organization for developing and promoting green building principles is the U.S. Green Building Council, a broad coalition including representation from the construction industry, the financial sector, government, and public interest organizations. Many healthcare buildings, including assisted living and nursing homes are now designed with Green Building standards. For more information, see:

Landscaping/Grounds Management

Traditional landscaping and current landscape maintenance practices, while frequently meeting human needs and aesthetics, often have harmful impacts. The clearing of native woodlands and other natural habitats for urban/suburban growth and subsequent planting of grounds with vast lawns and manicured arrangements of exotic ornamental plants place a heavy toll on environmental and human health. This type of a landscape requires extensive use of mechanical equipment, unnecessary consumption of our limited natural resources (water and fossil fuels), frequent application of fertilizers and pesticides, and the generation of significant quantities of solid waste.

Pesticides, including insecticides, herbicides, rodenticides and antimicrobials are regulated by EPA under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). FIFRA requires users of products to follow the labeling directions on each product explicitly. The following statement appears on all EPA-registered product labels under the Directions for Use heading: "It is a violation of federal law to use this product in a manner inconsistent with its labeling". In other words, over and above the requirements of common sense, healthcare facility staff are required by law to follow the safety precautions and use directions on the labeling of each registered product. For more information, see HERC's Pesticide section.

For more information on landscaping and use of pesticides, see:

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