Sustainability Reflected in the Joan and Paul Rubschlager Building

How sustainability was a priority in the new outpatient facility

When it comes to sustainability, every little bit counts. And for our new outpatient facility, the Joan and Paul Rubschlager Building — a destination for cancer, neuroscience and digestive disease care — it was a priority.

For example, more than 30% of the products in the Joan and Paul Rubschlager Building include recycled materials, and 46% of the products were manufactured and harvested within 500 miles of RUSH.

Also, a new, intelligent lighting controls system was installed in the building to minimize electricity use. This system will work with occupancy sensors and the window shades to optimize daylight, turn off lights in unoccupied rooms and adjust brightness throughout the day.

“By shrinking our environmental footprint, we’re minimizing our impact on local, regional and global communities, directly improving the health of people living within them,” says Ian Hughes, sustainability manager at RUSH.

More about sustainability

Other examples of sustainability in the Joan and Paul Rubschlager Building include the following:

  • During construction, 94% of debris was diverted from the landfill, and more than 3,000 tons of construction waste was recycled.
  • Eighty-six of the furniture and furnishings procured for the building so far have attained Healthier Hospital Interior criteria by eliminating chemicals of concern.
  • An extensive amount of two-bin garbage and recycling cans are placed throughout the building, which will be a notable increase in the number of bins from other locations on campus and will help enhance recycling initiatives.
  • The building’s design reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 1,088 metric tons of CO2 equivalent. This savings is equal to the electricity needed to power 38 homes for a year, or 4.4 tanker trucks full of gasoline. 

Here’s what you can do to help

We can all do our part to promote sustainability in our daily lives, no matter the size.

“Small actions like turning off lights when not in the room or powering off devices when not in use can make a big collective impact,” says Katie Pittman, sustainability coordinator at RUSH. “Don’t be fooled by the idea that small actions don’t matter.”

RUSH is currently seeking a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification for the Joan and Paul Rubschlager Building. To learn more about the building, visit

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