LEED ID+C: Commercial Interiors v2009
MCAMI PET/CT Scan Suite
Willow Grove, PA 19090
LEED Gold 2011
The below stakeholder perspectives address the following LEED credits:
EAc3, MRc4, MRc6, EQc6.1, EQc6.2,WEp1, EAp1, EAc1.3, EAc2, MRc5, MRc7, EQc4, EQc8.1, EQc8.2, EAc6, MRc2, EQc2, EQc3.1, EQc3.2
Goals and motivations
What were the project sustainability goals?
Creating a medical office suite which provided amenities for high-quality patient care, including individual lighting and thermal comfort controls to suit patients' preferences and needs while incorporating sophisticated medical technology.
Photo by Hugh Loomis © 2011
The PET/CT scan suite is equipped with its own sub meter and MCAMI pays for all electricity consumption utilized within the medical office suite. This meter captures electricity use associated with plug loads, lighting, HVAC and domestic hot water. It was important for energy efficient strategies to be incorporated in the design to reduce electricity consumption and cost.
One of the main goals for the project was to utilize environmental responsible and sustainable materials suitable for a medical environment. MCAMI requested a sophisticated palette of environmentally-friendly interior finishes. They did not want the space to feel like a utilitarian clinical facility.
What were the most notable strategies used to earn LEED credits?
The existing building constructed as a single story elementary school in 1954 required a creative team approach to achieve the programmatic goals and environmental responsible design required to achieve a LEED Gold Certification. The design of the PET/CT utilized day lighting in diagnostic imaging area while maintaining privacy and the medical protocols required for the PET/CT to function within a controlled medical facility while reducing the energy consumption and increasing the energy performance envelope. The opportunities to introduce day lighting into the space were limited by the physical constraints of the existing building and the medical protocols required for the PET/CT. During space planning, patient treatment areas were located along the east façade to take advantage of the existing windows to provide patients with views of the surrounding landscape. To achieve even greater levels of day lighting in the suite, large full-height glazing was added to the south façade providing light directly into the PET/CT diagnostic area. This was achieved through the use of leaded glass and landscaping at the exterior of the building to act as a protective barrier to eliminate any collateral radiation.
Photo by Hugh Loomis © 2011
Interior finishes were selected to create a calming atmosphere for patients. Wood, bamboo, and cork create a warm, inviting space. Innovative materials, such as resin panels fused with natural grasses, bring natural elements into the medical office suite. Interior finishes were also evaluated for environmental and human health impact. The project achieved LEED credits for recycled content, regional materials, rapidly renewable materials, and certified wood. Indoor air quality is an important part of promoting patient well-being, so materials were selected for reduced volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions.
The project integrated many energy efficient strategies that go above and beyond standard practices. The lighting system included LED light fixtures that contribute to 20% lighting power savings when compared to a typical medical office suite. Also, HVAC equipment meets the energy efficiency requirements outlined in the New Building Institute's AdvancedBuilding's Core Performance Guide. A building automation system ensures that equipment set points and schedules balance energy efficiency and thermal comfort goals. A commissioning agent was involved throughout design, construction, and operation to ensure that energy-related building systems achieved maximum efficiency.
Photo by Hugh Loomis © 2011
Through the use of low-flow plumbing fixtures, including 1.28 gpf water closets and 0.5 gpm lavatories, the project utilizes 23% less water than a conventional medical office building. It is important to note that there were several lab sink faucets included in the project that are regulated by medical standards. These fixtures are excluded from LEED water use calculations as directed in the rating system.
Aside from LEED certification, what were key successes?
The PET/CT medical office suite was awarded LEED Gold certification, which is an outstanding achievement given that the project was a medical interiors project and not a commercial office. AH Adams & Company presented the client an environmentally responsible project was achievable and that creating environmental quality could be a aid to promoting patient perception of humanistic medical practice and reduction of the an institutional aura of a large medical building. The client immediately expressed interest in sustainability and embraced environmentally compatible design and construction practices. Responsible environmental design can be at odds with the criteria required of diagnostic medical space for compliant protocols and procedures. Through direct understanding of medical procedures balanced with environmental goals the PET/CT is a clear achievement in creating an environment which achieves both goals.
Photo by Hugh Loomis © 2011
The introduction of sustainable features into the space include the use of daylight, local materials, recycled content, rapidly renewable resources, and products that do not compromise indoor air quality; all are compatible with medical procedures. An energy efficient mechanical system with digital controls and multiple zones, lighting system, and low-flow plumbing fixtures contribute to energy savings and patient comfort. An enhanced commissioning process was also engaged by a third party to ensure functionality is maintained and energy savings are maintained.
What key metrics best define the project's most significant savings and/or LEED-related successes?
The most significant metrics were realized in the Materials and Resources sections. The project achieved great success under the following LEED credits: 96% diversion of construction and demolition waste; 32% recycled content; 50% regionally manufactured materials; 8% rapidly renewable materials; 58% FSC-certified wood.
Also, MCAMI purchased renewable energy certificates or (RECs) to offset 100% of electricity use within the tenant suite over a 2 year period. The RECs were purchased from a green power provider.
What one thing saved you or the project team the most time, money, or helped avoid an obstacle during the LEED process? What one thing cost you the most?
The project team saved time and money through detailed and on-going communication with the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) during design and construction. The project opted for a split review; the design credits were submitted in one package and the construction credits were submitted in a subsequent package. In applying LEED CI to a medical project it required the project team to thoroughly understand the protocols, functional, and programmatic requirements to perform a PET/CT scan from the medical professionals and patient's perspectives. With this understanding the team was able to research and evaluate effective design strategies to achieve LEED CI credits. When the credits where initially established USGBC was consulted to clarify if the design approach was capable of fulfilling the requirement to achieve the appropriate credit.
The most costly aspect of achieving LEED CI Gold certification was enlisting the contractor and sub-contractors to provide the necessary documentation to achieve the LEED CI construction credits. While the contractor performed to a high standard the sub-contractors where often late or had to be poked into provide the necessary submittal data. In approaching a LEED Certification process we would provide the contractor with leverage over sub-contractors to tie performance and payment requirements with submission as an inducement to provide the data to achieve data in the appropriate format and in a timely manner.
What was the value of applying LEED to this project?
The primary value of applying LEED CI to the PET/CT is it clearly establishes that advanced medical technology can be integrated into facilities which create patient center facilities utilizing environmentally responsible and sustainable design and construction practices. This achievement, a LEED Gold Certification, was only possible through close coordination and communication with the USGBC during the entire Certification process to qualify and clarify how credits could be realized. The main focus of the PET/CT project was to provide a high-performance environment for patients and staff, and sustainable design contributed to this end. As a healthcare provider, indoor air quality is an important part of occupant health and well-being. The space implemented an indoor air quality management plan during construction to protect the mechanical system from dirt and dust related to construction activities. A building flush-out was integrated prior to occupancy to ensure all harmful contaminants were removed from the space. Also, the HVAC system provides 30% additional outside air above code-required values, which provides a healthier interior for patients and staff.
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