Green medical facilities extend beyond hospital walls
Healthcare construction has slowed a bit in the last few years, but it remains a critically important sector for many AEC firms. While healthcare clients are demanding sustainable design and construction as a matter of course, green building is no longer limited strictly to hospital projects.
In Seattle, Swedish Cancer Institute has installed a factory-fabricated radiotherapy treatment “vault” to house its TomoTherapy treatment system. RAD Technology Medical Systems manufactured steel modules for the vault at its production facility, along with prefab wood modules for the patient exam and office portion of the nearly 4,000-sf facility. It is believed to be the first radiation center to earn LEED Silver certification.
Another first—at least for a privately owned facility—goes to San Francisco Surgical Arts’ LEED-CI Platinum (v.2009) oral and maxillofacial surgery office. Environmental Building Strategies led the Building Team—medical designer Kohan Inc. and contractor All Phase Builders—in reducing lighting power 37% and water usage 40% over conventional facilities. Solar-powered keyboards and Energy Star-qualified LED monitors and appliances were also used.
For the $538 million expansion of Phoenix Children’s Hospital (designed by HKS to Green Guide for Health Care standards), Kitchell Contractors built a central energy plant for the 34-acre campus that employs a high-efficiency, 800-ton water-to-water heat pump chiller, a technology widely used in the Middle East.
The central plant will save 5.6 million gallons of water per year, reduce natural gas consumption by 70%, and trim energy and operating costs $11 million over 15 years. The project also received a $464,000 cash award from APS Solutions for Business, the local electrical utility’s energy-conservation program for commercial customers.
In Richmond, Va., Moseley Architects worked with design partners KEI Architects,
Dennis Kowal Architects, and John Dickinson & Partners and GC Kenbridge Construction on the renovation of the Virginia Rehabilitation Center for the Blind and Vision Impaired Administration and Activities Building. The center provides training for blind, vision-impaired, and deaf-blind Virginians to adapt to living with partial or no sight.
Commonwealth guidelines called for the $4,272,600 project to bring the facility, which was built in 1970, up to LEED Silver standards. The team went well beyond that. A central skylit atrium brought light and warmth into the facility. Variable-speed HVAC systems and energy-recovery technology were installed. Single-pane windows were replaced with low-e, double-pane units. Existing halide site lights were upgraded to LED fixtures. Energy use was trimmed 15%, water consumption by 30%, saving 34,000 gallons a year.
As a result of these measures, the project earned LEED Gold certification.
The team also embraced “sustainability” in a larger context in making the center compliant with ADA Accessibility Guidelines. By not focusing exclusively on what could be seen, the team created a design that considered such factors as echoes, smells, and proportions to arrive at what they called a “building for sighted people.”
Another project seeking to break new ground in sustainability is the Palliative Care Campus, a 120-unit Enhanced Assisted Living Residence for persons with serious progressive illnesses. It is said to be the world’s first spirit-centered, enhanced assisted-living community residence. The client, the HealthCare Chaplaincy, is a national leader in research, education, and multi-faith patient-centered care. FXFOWLE Architects is the AOR and designer, in collaboration with MHG Architects and Clodagh Design.
The 16-story, 180,000-sf project, to be built in Lower Manhattan along the East River, will also house a geriatric and palliative care outpatient medical practice, plus research, educational, clinical practice, and administrative spaces. The facility will address not only patients’ physical ills, but also their psychological and spiritual well-being. The HealthCare Chaplaincy hopes the new campus will serve as a national demonstration project for the healthcare industry. +