Healthcare construction companies continue to build green, but getting their finished buildings LEED-certified has become less of a sure thing.
How can that be? While more hospital systems are willing to foot the bill for green construction because they understand there will be a return on investment, they are turning thumbs down on paying to obtain a certificate.
That's why firms like Hammes Co. have taken it upon themselves to pay for LEED certification. “We certify everything that we develop,” said Chris Kay, president and chief operating officer of the Brookfield, Wis.-based company.
Hammes worked on the Presence Center for Advanced Care at Presence St. Joseph Hospital in Chicago. The $147 million, 220,000-square-foot building, which stands 10 stories tall, opened in September 2015 and has achieved silver LEED certification, the third-highest rating behind gold and platinum.
The building uses a rooftop garden to deflect heat and save on energy costs. It also deployed automated building controls, which use predictive analysis to identify the year and time of day and auto-adjust electronics, heating and air conditioning.
And that was typical of about a third of all new construction last year, according to Modern Healthcare's 37th Annual Construction & Design Survey. About 35% of survey respondents reported working on a project eligible for certification by the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program.
Of those, 38.6% said the square footage of their LEED projects increased over the previous year. Another 37.1% said it stayed the same, and 24.3% said it decreased year over year.
MorrisSwitzer-Environments for Health led the survey in LEED projects, as it did last year. The Boston-based architecture firm worked on 122 projects designed to LEED standards, up from 73 projects the year before. HKS, a Dallas-based architecture firm, was second and worked on 93 LEED projects.
MorrisSwitzer's Clinical Research Center at the University of Vermont Medical Center in Burlington, a $2.3 million, 11,000-square-foot facility, received a LEED gold certification. The center's sustainable design includes Energy Star-rated equipment, water-use reduction technology and energy efficient lighting and mechanical equipment.