Lighting, HVAC, Plumbing Systems Generate Savings
While the pervious paving was a success, a vegetative roofing project failed to pass the design and construction team’s test. The team installed a pilot vegetative roof on the rotunda of the medical center, which is a small portion of the entire facility’s roof. The vegetative roof cost about seven times more than a typical roof, and the team struggled keeping the vegetation alive early in the process.
“That was one of the pilots where we were looking at, ‘What’s your return on investment. What does it really cost us to install a vegetative roof?’” Cooper says. “That experiment was one of the lessons learned where we decided not to include it as part of the standards.”
As one would expect, one of the greenest hospitals in North America boasts many environmentally friendly features, including:
• Occupancy sensors for lighting. “We’ve spent a lot of time going from room to room and adjusting to get those things just right,” Claycomb says.
• An energy-efficient HVAC system. “We have standards for the major mechanical systems — the chillers, the air handlers — that are designed to be energy efficient,” Cooper says. “Our standards are focused more on energy efficiency and maintenance than on just lower first cost.”
• Water-saving plumbing fixtures. “Everything is low flow,” Claycomb says. “You’re going to see a lot of automatic shutoff. About 99.9 percent of the sinks are all on photocells.”
• Sustainable landscaping. “Our standards call for ‘xeriscaping’, so we use drought-tolerant plants and native plants,” Cooper says. “We’re actually well below the rest of the industry in terms of our water consumption. In California, we’re 21 percent below other hospitals in our water usage and 40 percent nationally.”
• Variable-frequency drives on all pumps, which reduce energy use.
The Modesto team also registered the project with the Green Guide for Health Care, which is a best-practices guide for green building design, construction and operations for the health care industry.
“We used the Green Guide for Health Care as a tool to guide the project team around issues that may not be addressed in our design standards and to challenge them to go beyond the standard to test new approaches, materials or systems.”