Sunday, February 20, 2011

Building a Sustainable Hospital

Going Green: 5 Ways to Build a Sustainable Hospital

February 18, 2011 - The sustainability craze has reached the healthcare industry, as designers look to build new, state-of-the-art "green" facilities and existing hospitals upgrade their energy policies. Jeff Hull, director of architecture, construction, and real estate with Idaho based St. Luke's Health System discusses five steps the hospital design team took to increase sustainability of the new facility at St. Luke's Magic Valley in Twin Falls, Idaho.

1. Use existing materials before buying new ones. Before the Magic Valley facility was designed, the hospital realized there was a layer of basalt, or solid lava rock, five to seven feet under the topsoil of the construction site. In trying to establish a structure with basements and tunnels, the team realized workers would need to get through that rock. Instead of transporting the rock elsewhere, the team had a clever idea: Re-use the rock for landscaping and structural fill. The landscape team took the biggest boulders and used them to decorate the hospital campus. The rest of the material was run through a crushing and screening process and then used for structural fill underneath the hospital's paving and parking lots. "So everything we excavated was crushed, screened and reused on site, so we didn't import or export anything," Mr. Hull says. This approach decreased waste, saved money on additional materials and gave the campus a natural beauty by using the indigenous rock for decoration.

2. Install "green space." {continued}

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