LEED BD+C: New Construction v2.0
Boulder Community Foothills Hospital
Boulder, CO 80303
LEED Silver 2003
While the open space consists solely of native plant material and is unirrigated, the remaining hospital grounds are planted with a mix of native and adaptive plantings served by a high-efficiency irrigation system.
The first hospital in the nation to achieve LEED certification, this 60-bed acute care facility was a pioneer in sustainable healthcare design. Constructed between 2001 and 2003, the 154,000-square-foot facility is paired with a 67,000 square foot outpatient services building and sits on a 49-acre site, of which 32-acres is permanent open space. While the open space consists solely of native plant material and is unirrigated, the remaining hospital grounds are planted with a mix of native and adaptive plantings served by a high-efficiency irrigation system. 100% of rainwater is filtered onsite to remove suspended solids, and surface parking was reduced by 25% below the City requirement via a waiver supported by the hospital’s promotion of alternative transportation through the provision of bike paths and racks, showers, designated carpool spaces, direct access to bus stops and bus passes free of charge to all employees.
Private rooms throughout the facility offer patients control over all aspects of their environment including room temperature, natural and electric lighting levels, nourishment, privacy and views. Large windows overlooking foothills, creeks and cottonwood trees provide a connection to nature. Outdoor spaces at all three levels offer places of respite, and the central water feature affords a welcome distraction. Shading devices, low-e glazing, and high r-value roof insulation were a few features that added to the energy efficiency of the facility. However, the real champion is the central utility plant which houses equipment that is significantly more energy efficient, and less expensive to maintain than the decentralized system typical of projects this size. Energy modeling against the ASHRAE baseline estimated a 28% reduction in energy costs for the facility.
Tracking project materials, coming and going, helped to validate that the project’s sustainability goals had been met. In support of the local economy, an impressive 55% of all the building materials were manufactured locally, and 33% were both harvested and manufactured within a 500-mile radius. Careful documentation of construction waste removal on the site revealed that 64% of all jobsite construction waste was recycled – at a time when gypsum board recycling was not available in Colorado!
The early successes at Boulder Community Foothills Hospital illustrated the promise of sustainable healthcare to a skeptical marketplace, and provided the impetus for many other projects which followed. The hospital has continued to build on its achievements in many ways, a few of which include internal programs, external outreach, and the addition of 111kW of photovoltaic power.