The new Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend in Oregon is touting itself as one of the nation’s greenest hospitals. The facility incorporates energy efficiency features and reduces the amount of chemicals typically used in a hospital.
The American Society for Healthcare Engineering and Johnson Controls, recently released the 2008 Healthcare Energy Efficiency Indicator study, which shows that healthcare executives place a higher priority on energy efficiency than executives in other industries.
The features at Sacred Heart include:
- Chemical-free cooling water treatment system, which protects ground water resources by eliminating the need to use or store potentially harmful chemicals that are often used in processes to treat cooling water.
- Using digital imaging exclusively within the hospital, eliminating the need for silver recovery and chemical inputs associated with traditional x-ray technology.
- Adopting an electronic medical record system which reduces the amount of paper used.
- Replacing 10 trees for every one that was removed from the construction site. The hospital expects the site to have 50 percent more tree canopy within five to 10 years, which will help reduce the heat island effect and cool runoff leaving the site.
- Using fir trees that needed to be removed from the site by using it as paneling in the lobby interior roof.
- Outfitting all surface parking lots with bioswales to treat storm water runoff.
- Redirecting clean rainfall on building rooftops to “infiltration galleries” on-site that put this runoff back in the ground to replenish the local aquifer.
- Providing free bus passes to all of its employees, encouraging them to take advantage of mass transit, as well as opportunities to bike and walk.
- Designing the streets through the site to accommodate the planned expansion of Bus Rapid Transit which will provide high capacity transit service immediately adjacent to the medical center.
- Installing a 0.6-mile long underground pneumatic tube system between the medical center, the lab, and the pharmacy at the RiverBend Annex that will ferry samples, tests, supplies, and medications throughout the medical center. This system is expected to reduce fuel consumption and the number of courier vehicle miles traveled between the lab and medical center.