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Patient Care Addition Update • September 2009

NCH’s Project Eyes Green Building, LEED Certification

Northwest Community Hospital’s $250 million campus expansion project is the most ambitious redevelopment initiative the hospital has undertaken in its 50-year history.

The hospital is incorporating into its design many construction and operating practices that are environmentally responsible – addressing water and energy efficiency, conservation of materials and resources, and indoor environmental quality. In fact, it’s the hospital’s goal, once the project is complete in 2010, to be accredited with a Silver Certification by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design).

NCH’s Targets for Earning Silver Certification

Once NCH’s Renaissance Project is in its final stages, documentation will be provided USGBC, which will evaluate all of the project’s initiatives for compliance, awarding points as deemed merited.

To achieve Silver Certification, NCH has targeted the following sustainable initiatives as part of the Renaissance Project:

  • Construction Pollution Activity Prevention – Erosion control measures are followed during construction to prevent topsoil sediment from entering storm sewers and to prevent airborne dust.
  • Alternative Transportation – Bicycle parking, showers, and changing facilities are available to encourage alternatives to automobile use. NCH is also considering designating preferred parking for fuel-efficient vehicles.
  • Site Development – Open space will be maximized by keeping 40 percent of the project site area open or covered by a green roof.
  • Storm water Design and Management – Rain gardens and bio-swales have been included in the landscape design to slow the rate that rain water enters the storm sewer system, filter out impurities, and recharge the natural groundwater. There is a large rain garden planned for the south side of the PCA that will receive all the roof water from the new patient care addition.  There are also smaller rain gardens and bio-swales around the garage and the ED renovation.
  • Heat Island Minimization – Structures and automobiles absorb and retain heat, reaching temperatures greater than the air temperature.  This heat is then radiated back into the surrounding environment, increasing cooling loads in buildings and creating a detrimental environment for plants, animals, and people.  The majority of parking in the new deck is shaded from the heating effects of the sun, and the paved surface at the top of the deck is light in color to reduce the heat island effect. The new building area is covered in a combination of green vegetated roof and highly reflective white membrane roofing, both of which reduce the heat island effect.
  • Light Pollution Reduction – Lighting in the project is designed to prevent light from spilling beyond the NCH campus property line.  Exterior light fixtures are “full cut-off” to prevent light from escaping to the sky above, and to direct all the light down to the surfaces that are intended to be illuminated.
  • Water Efficient Landscaping – The rain gardens are planted with native or adapted plants that do not require additional care or watering once they have been established.  The trees, shrubs, ornamental grasses and flowers have been selected according to the moisture conditions planned for these features. This provides a landscape that will thrive and beautify the campus with minimal maintenance and with little or no irrigation with potable water.
  • Water Use Reduction – The use of low flow fixtures will reduce the use of potable water by 20 percent to 30 percent over a baseline condition calculated for the building.
  • Enhanced Commissioning – An independent commissioning agent has been involved with the design of the building systems from the early stages and will be involved though final and post occupancy commissioning to ensure that the systems are installed, calibrated, and perform according to the basis of design.  Benefits of commissioning include reduced energy use, lower operating costs, and improved occupant productivity.
  • Energy Performance – Energy consuming systems in the project are designed to be energy efficient and comply with the ASHRAE/IESNA Standard 90.1-2004 energy code.
  • Cooling System Refrigerant Management – Cooling systems and fire suppression equipment do not contain CFC’s or HCFC’s, ozone depleting refrigerants, or Halons.
  • Storage & Collection of Recyclables – A recycling program including plastics, metals, paper, glass, and cardboard is in place and will be maintained throughout the new spaces.
  • Construction Waste Management – Over 75 percent of construction and demolition waste is sent to recycling and reclamation centers to divert it from landfill disposal.
  • Recycled Content – Materials containing recycled content were used wherever possible.
  • Regional Materials – Materials manufactured and extracted within a 500-mile radius of the project site have been used wherever possible.  This reduces the energy required to get materials and products to the site, and also supports local and regional economies.
  • Certified Wood – A minimum of 50 percent of the wood-based materials in the project will be certified in accordance with the Forest Stewardship Council’s Principles and Criteria which encourage environmentally responsible forest management.
  • Indoor Air Quality – The building systems will be designed to comply with indoor air quality standards and monitors will be installed to maintain proper ventilation. A construction air quality plan is in place to prevent contamination of systems and proper flushing and testing will take place prior to occupancy. Air quality will be preserved by specifying paints, coatings, carpet, and other products with no or low VOC content. Air filters on ventilation systems and properly designed entry vestibules will minimize the infiltration of particulates and pollutants.
  • Thermal Comfort – Occupants will have comfort system controls to promote productivity, comfort and well-being. The building systems and envelope is designed to meet ASHRAE standard 55-2004. A thermal comfort survey will be implemented 6 to 18 months after occupancy to provide an assessment of the building thermal comfort over time.
  • Education – Educational signage and programs will be implemented to familiarize staff and visitors to the sustainable aspects of the projects and the benefits of sustainable design.
  • Areas of Respite – Indoor quiet rooms and outdoor gardens throughout the project have been developed to allow for direct connection to the natural environment. Some areas are designated for patients and visitors, while others are restricted for staff use only.
  • Acoustic Environment – Particular attention is being paid to the acoustics of the public spaces, the patient rooms, and the public corridors, to maintain a quiet healing environment.

About LEED1

LEED is an internationally recognized certification system that measures how well a building or community performs across all the metrics that matter most: energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality, and stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts.

Developed by the U.S. Green Building Council, LEED provides building owners and operators a concise framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions.

The LEED Green Building Rating System™ encourages and accelerates global adoption of sustainable green building and development practices through the creation and implementation of universally understood and accepted tools and performance criteria.

LEED’s third-party certification program is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings. LEED gives building owners and operators the tools they need to have an immediate and measurable impact on their buildings’ performance. LEED promotes a whole-building approach to sustainability by recognizing performance in five key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.

LEED for Healthcare

The LEED for Healthcare Green Building Rating System was developed to meet the unique needs of the health care market, including inpatient care facilities, licensed outpatient care facilities, and licensed long term care facilities. LEED for Healthcare may also be used for medical offices, assisted living facilities and medical education & research centers. LEED for Healthcare addresses issues such as increased sensitivity to chemicals and pollutants, traveling distances from parking facilities, and access to natural spaces.

The LEED for Healthcare rating system represents a culmination of four years of close collaboration between the Green Guide for Healthcare (GGHC) and USGBC.  GGHC has helped to streamline the LEED for Healthcare’s development schedule by aligning with the LEED for New Construction rating system’s organizational structure and by conducting public comment periods and a robust pilot program that included more than 100 health care facilities.

Getting Certified

To be LEED certified, a construction project must meet a set of standards that measure how well it meets the ideals of sustainable design. Points are awarded for meeting standards for energy efficiency, water conservation, indoor air quality, use of renewable materials and other criteria. With a total of 69 points possible, 26 points earn basic certification. Extra-green buildings can earn certification at the higher levels of silver (33 points), gold (39 points) or platinum (52 points).

1Information about LEED is from USGBC’s website,

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Last Updated 08/31/2009