Sustainable Building Eases LEED Certification Process

By Steve Schuster, Associate Editor  
OTHER PARTS OF THIS ARTICLEPt. 1: Ohio Hospital's LEED Certification Creates Challenges and BenefitsPt. 2: This PagePt. 3: Green Construction Project Maximizes Sustainability Development Goals

The LEED Silver certified facility was designed and constructed to operate with a minimal environmental impact, which was already in line with the hospital's existing operations.

"We found that we did not have to stray far from our standards to obtain LEED certification," Hanna says. "The major differences between this project and a typical construction project were the utilization of a new HVAC system, the amount of documentation required for LEED certification, and the costs associated with LEED design and construction."

In order to earn points toward certification, the hospital kept water conservation and energy reduction at the top of the project's priorities.

"Low-flow plumbing fixtures save tens of thousands of gallons of water annually," Hanna says. "Landscape irrigation is fed by an existing well to minimize the use of public water."

The project also involved the installation of the hospital system's first variable refrigerant flow (VRF) heat-recovery system. The energy-efficient system uses 28 percent less energy than a similar building without such a system, Hanna says. The VRF systems minimize energy use with digital-scroll compressors, increasing efficiency by sharing thermal energy between building zones, similar to a heat pump, Hanna says.

Separate air-handling units bring fresh air into the facility, providing higher quality air for occupants. The heat-exchanging system also reduces energy use by capturing heat from exhaust air before it leaves the building, Hanna says, adding that energy use for heating and cooling is further reduced by insulating the exterior building walls with 50 percent more insulation than a typical building.

The new equipment has had an impact on the maintenance staff, Hanna says. Specifically, technicians required additional training to properly monitor and maintain the new HVAC system and its components. Though most maintenance activities remain in-house, he says, the department did outsource some of the specialized troubleshooting for the system.

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  posted on 6/7/2012   Article Use Policy

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