Design guidelines improve sustainability

Building design, including the construction, demolition and planned operations of spaces, is an important topic in the field of sustainability. Building design impacts greenhouse gas emissions, water use, waste management and even active transportation.

“Green” buildings take into consideration the health and safety of their occupants as well as the building’s impact on the environment. In 2020, the medical center revised its building design guidelines for new construction and major renovations. This revision process included enhancing the med center’s sustainability criteria. These changes in designing, constructing and operating spaces will help the med center reach its 2030 sustainability goals and will create a safer, healthier workplace for colleagues.

With these new requirements, all building design projects over $1 million must meet the requirements for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) v4 Gold Certification. While formal certification is not required, the framework and criteria needed to achieve LEED v4 Gold raises the bar for design processes, practices and building performance. Buildings designed to LEED standards have cleaner air (both inside the building and out), more natural lighting and fewer harmful chemicals. According to the U.S. Green Building Council, “improving indoor air quality can reduce absenteeism and work hours affected by asthma, respiratory allergies, depression and stress, and leads to and self-reported improvements in productivity”.

Below are just a few of the sustainability requirements in the new guidelines:

  • Sustainable sites
    • Harvest 95% of rainwater on site with green infrastructure and low impact development strategies
    • Reduce heat island effects and light pollution
  • Energy
    • Demonstrate via energy modeling that the project achieves the Med Center’s energy targets
  • Water use
    • Reduce indoor potable water use by 35%
    • Provide water filtration for potable sources
    • Reduction of water use outdoors by at least 50% using the EPA’s WaterSense Water Budget tool

Webinar Thursday

To hear more about sustainable building design and its positive impacts on health and the planet, attend a LiveGreen webinar on Thursday, July 22, from 11 to 11:30 a.m. Lindsay Neemann, whose team has been leading the charge in creating and implementing the med center’s Green Design Guidelines, will discuss the sustainability features included in new construction, as well as the general process for incorporating sustainability into architecture projects. Join here at 11 a.m. Thursday.

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