Wisconsin Clinic One Of Few To Earn LEED Status

It’s very hard to be environmentally conscious when your chief function is to save lives. Hospitals and clinics, for instance, are open around the clock, subject to strict standards for cleanliness, and unavoidably use lots of water and energy. That’s one of the reasons why only about 3 percent of the more than 14,000 LEED-certified buildings in existence around the United States are health care facilities.

The UW Health Yahara Clinic in Monona, Wis., however, has overcome these challenges by earning a LEED certification while offering family medicine, laboratory, X-ray, mammography and physical therapy services, as well as health and nutrition classes for communities in the Madison, Wis., area.

Image of UW Health Yahara Clinic entrance via J.H. Findorff & Son

Image of UW Health Yahara Clinic entrance via J.H. Findorff & Son

Opened in 2011 as part of the University of Wisconsin Medical Foundation’s system of health care facilities, the Yahara Clinic officially achieved LEED status last month after reaching several conservation goals, such as reducing its potable water use by 37 percent and cutting its annual energy costs by 14.7 percent

The 32,600-square-foot facility—designed by Kahler Slater in Milwaukee and developed by J.H. Findorff & Son and Livesey Co. in Madison—also includes several features to maintain the best possible indoor air quality for its patients. All ceiling tiles, drywall, carpeting, sealants and paints were made from low-VOC-emitting materials, and cleaning crews use non-toxic cleansers while still meeting infection control standards.

Shared spaces within the Yahara Clinic make the most of natural lighting. Image by Dana Wheelock via Kahler Slater.

Shared spaces within the Yahara Clinic make the most of natural lighting. Image by Dana Wheelock via Kahler Slater.

To cut down on the use of electricity, Kahler designed the clinic to draw in as much natural light as possible to the common areas. Offices and other spaces that are used primarily by the staff were placed near windows on the outsides of the building. Exam and procedure rooms, which are occupied less often, were located in the interior to provide greater privacy, with clerestory windows near the ceiling to provide natural light.

The University of Wisconsin's Yahara Clinic in Monona, Wis. Image by Dana Wheelock via Kahler Slater.

Landscaping around the clinic uses native plants and a stormwater retention pond. Image by Dana Wheelock via Kahler Slater.

On the Yahara Clinic’s grounds, a retention pond captures stormwater runoff, which is filtered through native grasses to protect adjoining natural wetlands. Landscaping crews used native plants that are adapted to the Wisconsin climate and don’t need irrigation.

Nearly a third of the building materials used in the construction of the clinic were manufactured using recycled materials, more than a quarter were sourced within 500 miles of the building site, and 70 percent (more than 86 tons) of construction waste was diverted from landfills.

Randy Woods is a Seattle-based writer and editor with 20+ years of experience in the business publishing world. A former managing editor of Seattle Business, iSixSigma, Claims and Waste Age magazines, he has covered topics that include newspaper publishing, entrepreneurism, green businesses, insurance, environmental protection and garbage hauling (yes, really). He also contributes to the Career Center Blog for The Seattle Times and edits a photography magazine called PhotoMedia. When not working, he likes to hide out in Seattle movie theaters and attend film festivals—even on sunny days.

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