One design feature of the Miller Building is windows that tint automatically in the mornings and evenings to cut down on energy costs.

Achieving sustainable building design

From the onset, the Miller Building, a 128-bed hospital part of the UVM Medical Center, was designed with sustainability in mind.

The facility, which opened in 2019, uses half the energy of a hospital of comparable size, according to UVM. Key features of the building are automatic tinted windows, denim jeans used for insolation, and recycled concrete. Additionally, all the materials for the building’s construction came from within a 500-mile radius, and most of the workers were from Vermont.

“We see that as very green – we weren’t clogging up our roads with those traveling from very far away,” Leffler said.

The building is on track to receive silver certification from LEED, one major accomplishment stemming from the $169 million project. While sustainable design and construction added to the cost of the project, Leffler said the system is likely saving on energy costs every single month — especially given the recently high inflation rates.

“With hospitals, there’s the capital expense and the ongoing operating expense. Think about your operating expense; it’s a good way to figure out the ROI (on these projects), so they appear more affordable,” he said.

In addition to seeking out LEED certification for future building projects, UVM Medical Center is leveraging remote and hybrid work to reduce the leasing space of administrative buildings, shrinking its physical footprint overall.

“We are decreasing spaces for people that are doing the back-end hospital functions and increasing spaces for the patient-facing part of the business,” Leffler said.

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