Chicago LEED Gold Hospital Project Biggest Ever

Along with research laboratories, hospitals are among the latest new construction projects to focus on achieving LEED green building certification, the largest example of which now resides at 1620 W. Harrison Street in Chicago: Rush University Medical Center’s distinctive new Tower building. The facility, which opened in January, has now earned LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council, making it the largest new construction healthcare project in the world to take this level of certification.

Designed by the Chicago arm of the Perkins+Will green architecture empire, the building earned its LEED points in the areas of water conservation, energy conservation and materials use, among other sustainable strategies.

Rush Tower, Chicago

image via Perkins + Will

In terms of water conservation, the Tower makes use of: green roofs to slow the flow of rainwater into city storm sewers (and, of course, reduce the the amount of solar gain during Chicago’s notoriously hot summer months); native, drought tolerant landscaping; irrigation supplied, in part, by reclaimed air handler condensation, which also supplies “makeup water” for the facility’s air conditioning chiller equipment; eco-friendly, low-water housekeeping solutions; and low-flow faucets and plumbing fixtures.

On the energy front, the building cuts its carbon footprint with energy-efficient heating, cooling and lighting systems, natural daylighting (aided by the hospital’s unique, butterfly-inspired shape) and energy-efficient lighting fixtures and bulbs. The building was constructed with around 20 percent recycled steel, as well as wallboard, concrete and interior wall coverings made up of 20 percent recycled materials.  More than 70 percent of the hospital’s doors were made with Forest Stewardship Council-certified wood, and the facility has also instituted a comprehensive, campus-wide recycling program.

Constructed at a cost of $654 million, this 14-story, 830,000-square-foot hospital building features 304 private adult and critical care beds on the top five floors, with a total 664 beds in operation in its new and existing facilities.

Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.

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