More hospitals each year are embracing sustainable design by achieving the Leadership in Energy and Environment Design (LEED) certification while constructing or retrofitting their facilities. The LEED program is administered by US Green Building Council using a strict set of criteria. As of 2013, only three hospitals had achieved Platinum LEED status, the pinnacle of environmental commitment, while 20 others had been awarded Gold status for their investment in sustainability.
Real Cost of Going Green
According to the US Green Building Council, the capital cost premium of constructing a LEED-certified hospital versus a standard one is about 1%. This cost might seem significant for a multi-million dollar project and, to some, becoming LEED-certified may not justify the extra expense. But LEED Certification is not only about positive public image and bragging rights. Most efforts result in real savings in energy, water usage, and recycled materials while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. These efforts reduce the operating expenses of a major facility over the long run. Here are just 5 of the best LEED-certified medical facilities:
1. Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas
Dell Children’s was the first hospital in the world to achieve LEED Platinum certification. Built in 2004, Dell was created with the vision of being a “green” hospital that would set the standard for sustainability. Believing that children should only be treated in an environment that sets an example for environmental responsibility, Dell believed that only a healthy hospital can truly promote children’s health. Representatives from many other healthcare facilities in the world have toured this facility in recent years to view its innovative construction.
2. Katz Women’s Hospital at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, N.Y.
Another Platinum LEED-certified facility, Katz Women’s Hospital, was completed in 2013 with a focus on design and material that maximized sustainability. Using recycled materials and strategies for reducing energy and water usage, the facility boasts hotel-like interiors. Sustainable features include LED lighting, concrete floors made from reconstituted ashes and solar shades that reduce energy requirements. The building is designed with fixtures and appliances that use 50% less water than is normally required by local building codes.
3. Kiowa County Memorial Hospital in Greensburg, Kan.
The original Kiowa County Memorial was completely destroyed by a devastating tornado in 2007. With a massive community commitment to rebuild the facility as environmentally positive as possible, the new hospital was completed in March, 2010. As a result, the Kiowa County Memorial has been awarded the LEED Platinum designation. With technical assistance from the US Department of Energy, the new hospital has incorporated a wide range of energy-saving strategies to reduce consumption with LED lighting, light-sensing dimmers and motion sensors, and an abundance of natural daylight for many areas of the facility. This highly insulated facility employs the most ultra-high efficiency HVAC systems and scientifically managed airflow patterns to reduce heating and cooling costs. Wind power is used to supplement energy usage.
4. Good Samaritan Hospital in Puyallup, Wash.
Winner of a Gold LEED certification, Good Samaritan in Puyallup captures some the abundant rain of the Puget Sound region to supplement cooling the hospital. Other features that contribute to the “green” reputation are two native plant roof gardens, plus construction methods and other energy reducing projects.
5. Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital in Hollywood, Fla.
In 2012, the Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital was awarded LEED for New Construction Gold Award. The hospital construction strategy incorporated numerous energy-savings features plus water and waste reduction elements. Some of the many innovative strategies included low-VOC materials for paints, sealants and adhesives, water-efficient landscaping, employee bike racks and showers, and low-energy HVAC systems and filters.
Do you have an LEED Healthcare Facilities to add to the list above? Share your knowledge with us in the comments!