Green building design took a leap forward recently when the world’s first LEED for Healthcare (LEED-HC) Certification was awarded to a Group Health Medical Center in Puyallup, Washington. The LEED-HC rating system was designed specifically to identify and reward green medical businesses. While other healthcare projects around the world have achieved LEED Certification, none of them have done so under the rigorous LEED-HC requirements until now. The Group Health outpatient medical facility earned its “Gold” rating by meeting specialized credits that address the unique challenges of health facilities.
The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) introduced LEED for Healthcare in January of 2011. LEED-HC addresses needs specific to 24-hour operational facilities, recognizing the health consequences of building-related decisions while emphasizing integrated project planning. While geared towards inpatient and outpatient care facilities and licensed long term care facilities, LEED-HC can also be used for medical offices, assisted living facilities and medical education and research centers. This is the first LEED system to place such an emphasis on collaboration, including not only a prerequisite for Integrated Project Planning and Design but also an innovation credit for advanced coordination.
The team behind the Group Health Medical Center handily earned those credits, as well as several others new to the LEED rating system that address specific healthcare outcomes challenges:
- Connection to the Natural World Studies have shown that patients provided with a connection with nature experience faster recovery times and improved health outcomes: Group Health met this requirement with a green roof, outdoor landscaping, and a patio.
- Water Use Reduction Medical facilities use significant amount of water; LEED-HC requires projects to reduce their use of potable water for cooling medical equipment.
- Community Contaminant Prevention – Airborne Releases Indoor air quality is of crucial importance in medical facilities; this project uses a steam generator boiler that reduced NOx emissions
- PBT Source Reduction Persistent bio accumulative toxins (PBTs) such as lead, cadmium, and copper found in common building materials, accumulate in humans and negatively affect their health. Group Health minimized exposure by using lead-free products.
Because of Group Health’s commitment to achieving Gold LEED-HC Certification, their facility provides a patient-friendly, reasonably non-toxic indoor environment that reduces recovery time, while producing a minimal amount of outdoor air and ground water pollution. While your building may not face the same green challenges as Group Health’s medical facility, Advanced Control Corporation can help you “green” your facility with a building automation system, giving you control over critical systems in your building, resulting in reduced energy usage and enhanced safety, while creating a healthier indoor environment for your tenants.
Building automation systems control the mechanical, electronic, and lighting systems in a facility, combining them into a single integrated solution that coordinates the systems for maximum efficiency, user comfort, and cost reduction. The building systems and their functions include:
- Lighting Control – Lowers energy costs by employing time and zone controls to turn lights off when the building is empty; occupancy sensors indicate whether people are present and switches the lights on or off accordingly. Available as a networked or stand-alone solution.
- HVAC Control – Reduces energy usage by turning on and off the heating system according to designated schedules (time of day, week, etc.); ensures the building maintains desired temperature during occupancy.
- Air Quality Control – Monitors and eliminates unsafe levels of CO, CO2, and NO2 in buildings and parking garages; improves comfort by controlling humidity and eliminating unwanted odors.
Are you ready to implement some innovative green building designs in Miami? Advanced Control Corporation is ready to help! As a long-term member of the U.S. Building Council and a leader in green building in South Florida, Advanced Control has extensive experience in energy conservation and sustainability. Advanced Control has provided building automation solutions that have reduced the carbon footprint and increased the sustainability of several thousand buildings in Florida. Contact Advanced Control Corporation at 954.491.6660 today to start on the path to a greener tomorrow.