News Brief

Children's Hospital Named First LEED-HC Platinum Building

A focused effort to make healthcare facilities more sustainable takes hold in Austin, Texas, with the littlest patients.

The South Tower adds 72 patient rooms to Dell Children’s capacity while still maintaining the hospital's commitment to environmental responsibility.

Credit: Marc Swendner, Seton Healthcare Family

Water-efficient appliances, sensory gardens, and low-emitting furniture and finishes have all helped the recent expansion of Dell Children’s Medical Center earn the first-ever LEED for Healthcare (LEED-HC) Platinum designation.

Measures taken for the $49 million dollar W.H. and Elaine McCarty South Tower

capitalize on a growing body of research that suggests access to nature and green design strategies can promote healing. The new facility, which features an epilepsy monitoring unit and a toddler rehab center, has an outdoor labyrinth and a children’s sensory garden. Exposure to plants and natural sounds will be used to reduce stress and encourage movement for physical therapy. Green design principles also aligned with health goals in the decision to avoid persistent, bioaccumulative toxic (PBT) chemicals in interior furnishings.

“Sustainable environments have a profound, measurable effect on the healing process, not only for patients but also for all who enter our doors,” stated Michele Van Hyfte, manager of environmental stewardship for the hospital, in a press release.

Dell Children’s Medical Center has years of seeing these effects in practice: the main building became the world’s first LEED Platinum-certified hospital in 2008 before LEED-HC was launched in 2011 as a distinct standard.

LEED-HC is designed to address the special needs of hospitals, which operate at all hours, have strict regulatory requirements, and use massive amounts of energy for their equipment. A clinic in Washington earned the world’s first LEED-HC certification, achieving Gold, in April 2013.

 

Published September 3, 2013 Permalink

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