Healthcare Design- Green is the Gold Standard

White Hospital

Everybody loves a winner.

In particular, we admire skilled individuals and professional organizations that distinguish themselves through extra effort. They appear on magazine covers. They win championship rings. They might even earn a medal or two.

With the growing interest in sustainable design, those devoted to design and environmental excellence earn special certification. They work hard for it.

And their projects comprise a unique group.

I applaud them for their efforts. Now, take your hands and count your fingers. Eight fingers and two thumbs? Yeah, well . . . that may be more than the total number granted the elite LEED for Healthcare Gold Certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) in the United States. That’s right. It’s an elite group.

They are all winners, and worthy of our recognition.

Want to earn a LEED for Healthcare Gold Certification for your healthcare facility? We have learned from a few of those who’ve been recognized for design excellence. Follow the path established for everyone. Go for it! Earn your accolades too.

Design Excellence in Mid-South Suburburbia

Once upon a time, residents of Olive Branch, Mississippi drove into the neighboring city of Memphis, Tennessee for their weekend shopping. Suburban growth essentially connects the two now, so this community was a natural choice for a new branch of the river city’s family of Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare facilities.

As the local newspaper proclaimed, the recently completed Olive Branch Hospital is “the first in-patient health care facility in the United States to achieve a LEED for Healthcare Gold Certification.”

So, how did they do it?

As noted in Healthcare Design Magazine, innovations were the norm throughout the new facility.

  • Geothermal heat pumps use the ground as a heat sink to cool and heat the hospital
  • External Dynamic Glass (from View, Inc.) adjusts incoming natural light, and reduces heat and glare
  • Over 80 percent of all construction waste was recycled
  • Lean construction practices delivered this project ahead of schedule and below budget

Showcasing LEED in the Show-Me State

Columbia, Missouri is a city of 115,000 people. The centerpiece of Boone County near the Northern Plains region of the Show Me State, a haven for educational leadership and industrial progress. And a respected healthcare hub in the region.

This past spring, the University of Missouri Health Care’s latest and largest expansion earned LEED Gold Certification.

As was the case in Mississippi, innovative design practices held sway in Missouri. Again, Healthcare Design Magazine lists the many sustainable approaches used. Among them are the following.

  • Roof gardens to provide patients with a view of nature
  • Contractors used recycled material from recently demolished dorms
  • The building skin was designed to reduce thermal transfer, using an open joint rainscreen system
  • Interior lights and water fixtures automatically turn themselves on and off
  • Patient room windows allow abundant natural light and give patients a view of the landscaped gardens from their beds

LEED Gold Just Miles from South Beach

The state of Florida has fortunately been spared major hurricane damage for nearly a decade now. But it doesn’t mean that architects, contractors and property owners take anything for granted. They don’t.

The best of new facility designs follow environmentally sound standards, but architects must think about potential wind and water damage too. We also consider the possibility of extended power outages.

Completed in 2011, the Miami based West Kendall Baptist Hospital received LEED Gold Certification.

The hospital was also built to withstand wind and water from a Category 5 hurricane and included passive survivability features.

  • Its energy plant can sustain service for an entire week
  • On-site lakes handle water retention and provide water for all site irrigation

Setting New Standards

The established standards for LEED Certification are high. They should be. Points are awarded for each of the various aspects of a project. Accumulating 50 points achieves Silver Certification. Gold requires more than 60.

Every aspect of a property is assessed during the verification process.

  • Integrative design process
  • Location and transportation
  • Materials and resources
  • Water efficiency
  • Energy and atmosphere
  • Sustainability
  • Indoor environmental quality
  • Innovation, and more

In northern Mississippi, in Missouri, and in south Florida, owners and architects, committed to excellence in LEED design, have developed award-winning healthcare sustainable projects. Each is a perfect example of the finest in LEED for Healthcare Certification.

With the LEED Gold certification … Communities win. Healthcare facilities win. Most of all, patients win.

By enhancing our quality of life, LEED Gold recipients deserve recognition. They’ve earned it.