Lutheran General gets LEEDS Gold status

Posted3/29/2010 12:01 AM

The patient tower at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital/Advocate Lutheran General Children's Hospital in Park Ridge has been awarded Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification by the U.S. Green Building Council. This makes Lutheran General the first hospital in the Midwest to achieve this level of LEED recognition. "We are thrilled with the news," said Anthony A. Armada, FACHE, president of Advocate Lutheran General Hospital/Advocate Lutheran General Children's Hospital. "Achieving LEED Gold certification is an impressive benchmark-setting accomplishment. It demonstrates that our tower provides our patients with high performance health care surroundings that are environmentally responsive, resource efficient and community sensitive."

The eight-story, 192-room tower, which opened in July 2009, has among the largest private patient rooms in the state, a focus on family-centered care, facilities to support the special treatment needs of adult and pediatric patients, technological advancements and an environmentally sensitive design.


Armada added, "While respecting the environment, our patient tower also allows Lutheran General to continue its healing ministry, its leadership role in meeting the needs of our patients, their families and the communities we serve, and setting nationally recognized health care standards."

Al Manshum, vice president of facilities and construction for Advocate Health Care and project director for Lutheran General's patient tower, said the LEED Gold designation for the 382,623-square-foot, $200 million state-of-the-art building represents a significant milestone for the hospital and the Advocate system in its journey 'to become green.'

"This is the biggest project ever undertaken at Lutheran General, and the goal from the beginning was to achieve the LEED Gold level. It shows how committed the hospital is to meeting this demanding national standard and creating a health environment that truly cares for our patients." Manshum said the LEED Gold certification has broader ramifications. "This is going to push the envelope, not only within Advocate, but across the region and the industry. When others see what was achieved on a project as large as this patient tower, it will make them realize this is something they should be doing, too."

To earn LEED Gold status, the patient tower had to meet standards in six key areas:

Sustainable site development - Storm water runoff has been reduced from the hospital site because of the patient tower's green roof. During an average rain, the roof retains 50 percent of the water that falls on it. The green roof also helps insulate the tower. In addition, the porous driveway in front of the hospital captures water under the pavement. Light-colored paving and roofing materials help reduce heat from building surfaces.

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Water efficiency - Native drought-resistant plantings outside the hospital are irrigated with recovered storm water. The building has rain chains leading from canopies to planters, a grove of trees and curved retaining walls that guide the flow of water through rain and spiral gardens on the site.

Energy efficiency - The building, its mechanical and electrical systems operate at a level that is 23 percent better than energy code requirements.

Conservation of materials and resources - Recycled, locally produced and environmentally sensitive materials were used throughout the tower. These include recycled vinyl flooring, carpeting, steel, terrazzo and Lyptus wood paneling, a fast-growing hardwood. Ninety-three percent of the construction waste from the patient tower project was recycled.

Indoor environmental quality - Low-VOC (volatile organic compound) paints, sealants, adhesives, plastics and carpeting were used to improve indoor air quality. In addition, patients and hospital staff within the tower enjoy expansive outside views and more natural lighting.

Innovation and design - About 43 percent of the patient tower is composed of recycled materials and more than 50 percent of the site is vegetated open space. Non-chemical cooling tower water treatment is used and LEED-accredited professionals worked on the project.

Manshum pointed out that the Center for Health Design will conduct an analysis of the patient tower next month to test whether the building is performing as planned. The study will include data research along with interviews of patients, staff and other users of the structure. "We're going to be one of a select number of hospitals in the country to do an in-depth examination of the ways this building is making a difference. This will benefit us, and also the industry as a whole."

Visitors to Lutheran General's patient tower can learn more about the hospital's LEED journey by stopping in the 'Why Green? Gallery' on the first floor of the patient tower. The gallery highlights the many ways the building respects the environment while providing healthier, more comfortable surroundings for patients, their families and the staff. The gallery also describes what Lutheran General is doing to help the community and environment stay healthy.