Friday, July 10, 2009

Austin goes Platinum

Photography: John Durant Photography

It started with research, crunching of numbers, and a strong belief by the hospital’s CEO (Robert I. Bonar, Jr.) that green is the way to go! Sure, folks had their doubts on where to place an awkward, 169-bed, 73,000-square-foot building on a potential brownfield.

However, the name says it all - Dell Children's Medical Center of Central Texas, the world's first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum-certified inpatient hospital, the highest level recognized by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC)!

Let’s look at this successful case study on how they were able to beat the odds!

One of the key factors to their Platinum rating for the designers was a freestanding natural gas-fired power generating plant. It took up about 1 acre of the total 32-acre property and is a cogenerating endeavor by the local power company Austin Energy. The plant would supply electricity, steam, and chilled water to the facility for a negotiated rate, which helped to save the facility's owners more than $6 million in construction costs.

Dell Children's Medical Center is also the only hospital to achieve a LEED point for daylighting. It achieves daylighting in 75% of spaces, including 35% of diagnostic and treatment areas.

While the documentation was a nightmare, detailed, comprehensive and called for a big coordination amongst architects, designers, engineers, and staff…you can see the outcome is gratifying and rewarding in terms of patient retention, care satisfaction, and length of stay in the city of Austin.

Source: Healthcare Design, June 2009

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