Austin, Texas - (January 8, 2008) Dell Children's Medical Center of Central Texas, a member of the Seton Family of Hospitals, has become the first hospital in the world to receive the LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) Platinum designation, given by the U.S. Green Building Council.
"Even before the first plans were drawn up, we set our sights on creating a world-class children's hospital, and becoming the first LEED Platinum hospital in the world was definitely part of that," said Robert Bonar, president and CEO, Dell Children's Medical Center of Central Texas. "Our motivation to pursue LEED Platinum was not just environmental. Being a 'green' hospital has a profound, measureable effect on healing. What's good for the environment and good for our Mueller neighbors is also good for our patients."
Dell Children's, which occupies nearly one-half million square feet on 32 acres that were once part of Austin's old Mueller Airport, opened in June 2007. Its environmentally-sensitive design not only conserves water and electricity, but positively impacts the hospital's clinical environment by improving air quality, making natural sunlight more readily available, and reducing a wide range of pollutants.
Inside the facility, sunlight reaches 80 percent of the available space. Outside, sustainable and indigenous building materials were used throughout the façade. A 4.3 megawatt natural gas-fired power plant produces 100 percent of the hospital's electricity, heating and cooling.
Dell Children's routinely plays host to visiting clinical, environmental and architectural experts from around the world, and features six interior healing gardens, each representing a distinct ecosystem within Dell Children's 46-county service area.
In order to achieve LEED certification, buildings are rated in five key areas: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality. Listed below are some of the accomplishments in each LEED category:
• 47,000 tons of Mueller airport runway material was reused on the site
• About 40% fly ash instead of Portland cement in the concrete mix yields a drop in carbon dioxide emissions equivalent to taking 450 cars off the road
• Courtyards provide light to interior spaces; courtyard air intakes provide cooler air than rooftop intakes for air conditioning
• 92% of construction waste was recycled on site
Water Efficiency and Water Conservation
• Reclaimed water is used for irrigation, xeriscaped landscaping uses native plants which require less water
• Low flow plumbing fixtures
Energy Efficiency and Energy Conservation
• Efficiency measures save enough power to fuel about 1,800 homes
• An on-site natural gas turbine supplies all electricity, 75% more efficient than coal-fired plants: links to the municipal grid and an emergency generator provides backup
• Converted steam energy from a heating/cooling plant supplies all chilled water needs
• Under-floor air distribution in non-clinical, non-patient areas requires less fan power than above-ceiling ducts
• Parking lot trees and reflective surface pavement and roof materials reduce the heat-island effect
Indoor Environmental Quality and Lighting
• Most interior spaces are within 32 feet of a window
• Motion and natural light sensors shut off unneeded lights
Conservation of Materials and Resources
• Use of local and regional materials saves fuel for shipping
• Special paints and flooring emit low levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs).