Phoenix Children’s Hospital is one of the country’s 10 largest health care facilities for children. With the rapidly growing pediatric population in our market, the hospital recently reached the half-way point of a $588 million expansion, which includes the construction of a new 11-story patient tower that will nearly double available beds by 2012. The hospital is not only providing a healthy future for its patients with this significant expansion, the project has also embraced sustainability practices in its design, construction, and operations that will support a healthy future for our community.
Phoenix Children’s Hospital takes its responsibility as a health care leader seriously. The hospital made the commitment to build green based on several key considerations: increased public health, reduced operational costs, and a focus on corporate social responsibility.
Promoting the health of patients, visitors, employees, community members, and the global community, Phoenix Children’s Hospital’s expansion will result in economic and efficient operations. Along with its construction partners, design architects HKS Inc. of Dallas and general contractor Kitchell of Phoenix, Phoenix Children’s is building one of the most innovative and environmentally sound children’s hospitals in the nation.
At the heart of the Hospital’s sustainability effort is a Central Energy Plant (CEP) that now powers the 34-acre campus in the heart of Phoenix. This high efficiency CEP features an 800-ton water-to-water heat pump chiller, a technology widely used in the Middle East. In fact, Phoenix Children’s CEP employs the first application of the water-to-water heat pump chiller in a healthcare facility of its size in the United States. This innovative technology will translate to substantial energy savings for the hospital, in addition to boosting Phoenix’s conservation efforts overall. Results will include:
- Conserving of 5.6 million gallons of water annually (the equivalent of the water needs of 120 households);
- Reducing discharges to the sanitary sewer system by 600,000 gallons per year;
- Reducing natural gas consumption by 70 percent; and
- Saving nearly $11 million in energy and operating costs over 15 years.
The new hospital design also maximizes energy and water efficiency. In patient rooms, views of the mountains on both sides of the Valley will be maintained with high-performance low-e windows and sun-shading screens help to minimize solar heat gain. Additionally, the exterior lighting is designed to reduce light pollution. Combined with an efficient mechanical system design, the new building will use 20 percent less energy than maximum capacity required by code. Furthermore, the hospital is also a good steward of the community’s valuable water resources by installing low-flow plumbing fixtures with automatic flushing sensors that reduce water use in the new tower.
Indoor air quality is an important aspect of designing a sustainable hospital that creates a healing environment for Arizona’s youngest patients, and this process begins with selecting materials free of harmful chemicals. No mercury products or urea-formaldehyde resins were used in construction, and the new cooling system will use non-CFC refrigerant which prevents ozone depletion. Recycled flooring products and low-VOC paints and sealants will protect air quality.
Phoenix Children’s Hospital has also implemented a strategic exterior design, planning for indigenous plants and trees to create exterior places of respite. Local flora line the sidewalks and keep visitors cool and reduce solar heat gain. An expanded cafeteria, roof garden, indoor areas with natural views, and other tranquil spaces on the new campus will help keep employees, patients, and families on-site and off the road during heavy traffic times. Notably, the new facility offers convenient bike storage, a staff locker room in the basement of the new tower, and preferred parking for carpool and alternative-energy cars.
Taking the lead in sustainable construction, the project team has created a paperless strategy where portals and online distribution of materials sent to subcontractors save paper, time, and money. Most notably, Kitchell has conducted a large effort in recycling. On average more than 70 percent of construction waste per month is recycled, which keeps a significant amount of materials out of landfills. Lastly, in a region where dust control in the streets and air can be quite challenging during construction, the site takes extreme measures to reduce the effects of dust on the neighboring community.
Utilizing sustainable design principles, thoughtful green construction techniques, and preparing for environmentally friendly operations, the Phoenix Children’s Hospital expansion is setting a new benchmark in sustainable healthcare design and development.