Dell Children’s Hospital of Central Texas became the first hospital in the world to receive a LEED platinum certification.
But due to the high cost of being environmentally-friendly enough to reach that level, experts warn not to expect more platinum certifications to flood the industry anytime soon. Though costs are dropping, LEED certification development can increase expenses by up to 6 percent.
The hospital has been planning for platinum certification for their green facility since developers broke group in 2003. Principal with the hospital’s Austin-based developer TBG Partners, Brian Ott, says to GlobeSt.com, “The ‘Greed Guide for Health Care’ wasn’t written at the time, so we had to apply a lot of the original version of the LEED guide to the project. It was hard to apply some of those systems to the hospital.”
According to the hospital’s website, some of the major steps they took to achieve this certification include the following:
- 47,000 tons of Mueller airport runway material was reused on the site
- Courtyards provide light to interior spaces; courtyard air intakes provide cooler air than rooftop intakes for air conditioning
- 92 percent of construction waste was recycled on site
- Reclaimed water is used for irrigation, xeriscaped landscaping uses native plants which require less water
- Efficiency measures save enough power to fuel about 1,800 homes
- An on-site natural gas turbine supplies all electricity, 75 percent more efficient than coal-fired plants: links to the municipal grid and an emergency generator provides backup
- Motion and natural light sensors shut off unneeded lights
- Special paints and flooring emit low levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
Chris Barnet of Dallas-based GVA Cawley’s Healthcare Real Estate Advisory Group says that although LEED certification is still too expensive for many healthcare facilities, larger non-profit organization in the industry are beginning to discuss the idea, or at least talk about ways they can grow green on a basic level, especially with new building projects.