When Stamford Health started looking at replacing its aging structure with a new 640,000-square-foot hospital, it was interested not only in providing the latest in technology and health care strategies, but also in meeting various “green” challenges.
The hospital, which opened in 2016, has now achieved that. It has received Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Healthcare Certification, one of only 86 projects in the world to be so certified, as well as the first in Connecticut and the largest facility in the country to receive the nod.
“When we began to plan to build the new hospital, we had an eye on being a LEED-certified hospital,” affirmed Stamford Health President and CEO Kathleen Silard. “We felt we had a unique opportunity to build a hospital that is very, very different in design and construction, that was environmentally sound.”
Working with engineering firms that were used to working with green concepts was a “very important part of the selection process,” said Executive Director, Facilities Management Michael Smeriglio. “That started really early on.”
Smeriglio said the hospital focused on several areas, including airflow, energy consumption and air quality. Such efforts extended to incorporating “living roofs” at several points — plantings which serve as insulation, require less energy, send less heat into the atmosphere and are aesthetically pleasing.
Developed by the U.S. Green Building Council, LEED provides building owners and operators a framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions. LEED certification can be applied to all building types. A committee of health care professionals developed the LEED language for health care projects.
During the construction of the hospital, the following LEED elements were achieved:
• About 85 percent of construction debris was recycled.
• Green spaces were maximized, including gardens, courtyards and paths to promote healing and provide patient and family respite.
• Sustainably-sourced materials and products were used from the region, such as certified wood, walls, ceiling, flooring and other components.
• Low-emitting materials, such as environmentally friendly carpets and no noxious flooring material, were selected.
The facilities management team worked with the architect, engineer and construction manager, Skanska, to examine and implement such technologies, Smeriglio said.
In addition, Stamford 2030 District, a public-private nonprofit collaborative community of high-performance buildings in downtown Stamford, recently recognized Stamford Health at its fourth annual Change Makers awards for earning LEED health care certification for the hospital.
That organization aims to reduce energy and water consumption and reduce emissions from transportation in the city by 50 percent by 2030, while also increasing competitiveness in the business environment and owners’ returns on investment.
“We are very onboard with helping them achieve their goals,” Smeriglio said. “They felt our new building represents a step in the right direction for others to follow.”