Dell Children’s Is Green
What’s a healthy child without a healthy world to live in? Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas is proud to be the first hospital in the world to earn platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council for outstanding Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). This designation means that we have exceeded environmental standards in five areas: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, selection of materials and resources, and indoor environmental quality.
To learn more about how a healthy building can promote the health of children, and, really, the whole world – look for all 21 signs located throughout our hospital.
Mass transit saves energy, so Dell Children’s is accessible by three public bus routes. We also provide racks for more than fifty bicycles.
For those who drive to Dell Children’s, parking priority is given to hybrid and alternative fuel vehicles, as well as employees who pool by car or van.
Our campus covers 32 acres. 20% of that land has been devoted to open vegetated space, which promotes biodiversity, rain infiltration, and contributes to the hospital’s natural environment.
Rainwater is drained to a special stormwater pond which allows it to seep into the ground gradually filtering pollutants out of the water before it reaches the natural groundwater table.
Reflective roof materials and light-colored sidewalk have been designed to reflect the intense Texas sun. This decreases our “urban heat island” effect and reduces the amount of energy needed for air conditioning.
Our exterior lighting provides safety and security, yet it’s designed to minimize light pollution in the city and surrounding neighborhoods.
Green roofs help reduce heating and cooling loads, reduce and filter storm water runoff and help to keep the surrounding environment cooler by reducing the “urban heat island” effect. Green roofs are also much more pleasing to look at than other roofs.
Principal Green Roof Technology Components
The native plants used in landscaping are drought tolerant, which means they require much less fresh water than non-native trees, shrubs and grasses. In addition, most of the water used for irrigation is recycled “non-potable”, or undrinkable.
We save 1.4 million gallons of water a year by using native landscaping instead of irrigated turf grass, and another 1.7 million gallons annually by utilizing low flow bathroom fixtures.
Energy & Atmosphere
By using high efficiency fluorescent lights, automatic on/off switches with motion sensors, and high efficiency air conditioning, we save enough energy to power, heat and cool approximately 300 average sized homes each day.
Materials & Resources
Numerous recycling spaces with bins and baskets are placed throughout the hospital. Please be sure to recycle the newspapers and plastic bottles that you might purchase here at the hospital.
The concrete at Dell Children’s uses a high percentage of fly ash, a recycled by-product of coal-fired power plants, which replaces traditional Portland cement – typically a very energy intensive component of concrete.
“Rapidly renewable” materials, such as cork and linoleum for flooring, have been used wherever possible. These materials come from plants and trees which regenerate very quickly and provide an excellent source for raw materials.
Most of the hospital employees use chairs which are made with up to 37% recycled content. The manufacturer also evaluated many important aspects of its production including energy use, water use, wastewater quality and workplace ethics as well as the impact of the chair’s materials, shipping and disposal.
Indoor Environmental Quality
Our air conditioning and ventilation system not only provides an abundance of fresh air, it also recovers energy from building exhaust air to minimize energy consumption.
In order to assure an indoor environment with clean air, we used materials such as carpeting, adhesives and paints which essentially eliminate the off-gassing emissions of Volatile Organic Compounds (known as VOCs). And, of course, no smoking is allowed anywhere in the hospital or on the grounds.
All patient rooms are provided with independent lighting and temperature controls, and the heating and air conditioning system maintains comfortable humidity levels throughout the building. Those features increase personal comfort and reduce any unnecessary use of power.