The first LEED for Healthcare (LEED-HC) certification was recently awarded to a hospital in Puyallup, WA.
Existing programs haven’t been designed specifically to record and reward green medical facilities, but now the industry has its first case study in the Group Health Puyallup Medical Center.
The project earned LEED Gold and was overseen by the Group Health Cooperative in conjunction with its facility manager, CBRE. The two entities planned an integrated process that brought together a variety of experts to optimize the design and construction phase, efficient service delivery, and a healthy indoor environment.
LEED-HC is the first LEED rating system to institutionalize that crucial first step, with a prerequisite for integrated project planning and design. The project also achieved an additional innovation credit for advanced coordination. The agreements among team members – including The Benaroya Company (developer), Collins Woerman (architect), GLY (contractor), University Mechanical, Pacland (civil, landscape), Pivotal Lighting, and Engineering Ergonomics Inc. (commissioning authority) – were based on specific performance targets.
Energy performance was a key goal, and the building is estimated to perform 29% over the LEED baseline. The project also earned several credits in the healthcare-focused category:
- Connection to the Natural World. Providing patients with access to and views of nature can speed recovery times, and this facility includes a landscaped area on the ground level for patients and visitors, a green roof, and a covered patio.
- Water Use Reduction. LEED-HC is unique in requiring reduced potable water use for cooling medical equipment. Medical sterilizers use very hot water, but in order to protect plumbing, the hot water has to be tempered with cold water. This project uses a special temperature sensor to add cold water only when needed instead of running it constantly.
- Community Containment Prevention – Airborne Releases. This credit rewards projects that include the least-polluting equipment. LEED-HC requires levels of oxides and nitrogen emitted by combustion hot water heaters to be under 55 parts per million, and the hospital’s steam generator achieves less than half that.
- PBT Source Reduction. Persistent bioaccumlative toxins (PBTs) are chemicals that can cause negative health impacts. Lead, cadmium, and copper are all found in common building materials. This facility uses lead-free solder, flux, and roofing, as well as mechanically crimped copper joints to avoid corrosion.