(CHICAGO) — One of Chicago's most distinctive new buildings has now been certified as among the greenest.
Rush University Medical Center’s innovative new hospital building, the Tower, which opened in January, has earned LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council and verified by the Green Building Certification Institute. It is the largest new construction healthcare project in the world to be LEED Gold certified.
The new hospital building, located at 1620 W. Harrison St., is the only full-service green hospital in Chicago. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is the nation's preeminent program for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings.
Rush earned high marks for green design, construction and operation. Rush achieved LEED Gold certification for energy use, lighting, water and material use as well as incorporating a variety of other sustainable strategies. Hundreds of energy savings ideas have been incorporated into the planning, construction and design. Below are some examples:
- Green roofs (partially covered with soil and plants) slow the flow of rainwater into city storm sewers and reduce heat from the sun.
- Planting indigenous landscaping and building multiple green roofs that slow or limit the release of rainwater into city storm sewers.
- Capturing of air handler condensation, which is used to water gardens and supply makeup water for our air conditioning chiller equipment, saving an estimated 1.3 million gallons of water a year.
- Using environmentally preferable products in housekeeping. Water savings from a change to microfiber mops in Rush existing facilities alone will be 500,000 gallons a year.
- Water-saving faucets and toilets will use 30 percent less water than conventional plumbing. Public bathrooms will use dual flush toilets.
- Energy-efficient heating, cooling and lighting systems were installed.
- Parts of roofs not covered with vegetation are white, which reflects sunlight rather than absorbing it, requiring less energy to cool buildings.
- The hospital's butterfly shape and other design features allow a large amount of natural light into the building, reducing the need for electric lighting.
- Energy-efficient lighting fixtures and bulbs are being used throughout the hospital.
- Rush has a comprehensive campus recycling program.
- About 20 percent recycled steel used in construction
- More than 20 percent of wallboard made from recycled materials
- More than 20 percent of interior wall coverings made from recycled materials
- Recycled concrete
- More than 70 percent of wooden doors made with materials harvested from certified sustainable forests
“From the outset of our facilities planning, we made a commitment to sustainability because in the long run it is good for our patients, our employees and the entire community,” said Peter Butler, president and chief operating officer of Rush. "We wanted to help achieve better outcomes by being innovative, efficient and prepared for the future by creating sustainable structures that would accommodate new models of care.”
“Buildings are a prime example of how human systems integrate with natural systems,” said Rick Fedrizzi, President, CEO & Founding Chair, U.S. Green Building Council. “The Rush project efficiently uses our natural resources and makes an immediate, positive impact on our planet, which will tremendously benefit future generations to come.”
The $654 million, 14-story 830,000 square foot hospital building has 304 private adult and critical care beds on the top five floors. Rush has a total 664 beds in operation in its new and existing facilities.
Perkins+Will designed the new hospital. The project, managed by Power/Jacobs Joint Venture, remained on time and on budget, despite the challenging economic environment.