Lessons Learned: Providence Newberg Medical Center

Facilities Net has a project profile on the Providence Newberg Medical Center, revisiting it as the first LEED Gold Hospital in the US. The study is in 6 Parts:

Part 1: Revisiting The Performance Of First LEED Gold Hospital
Part 2: Hospital Design Team Focuses On Computer-Generated Models
Part 3: Hospital Operates On 100 Percent Renewables, Sells Power
Part 4: HVAC, Lighting, Plumbing Initiatives Fuel LEED Certification
Part 5: First LEED Gold Hospital Now a High-Performance Building
Part 6: LEED For Healthcare Addresses Unique Operational Requirements

The testing portion in Part 5 is really important. The hospital didn’t perform the way the models indicated in the first year because time constraints pushed the building commissioning at the end of the build, and mechanical equipment ended up oversized for its type of use. The maintenance and facilities staff spent that year learning, modifying and tweaking the system to get the performance they envisioned.

“Our steam system in the building was sized for humidification for the whole building 24/7, and our sterilization of surgical instrumentation 24/7/365,” he says. “The majority of our surgeries are done Monday through Friday between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. The only areas that require humidification are the surgery areas, so (the system was) oversized.” (Chris Matt)

This is where programs like the Living Building Challenge work better for certification than LEED ones. The LEED program used to have a minimal commissioning prerequisite that allowed the certification process to start once construction finished. The Living Building Challenge certification doesn’t apply until designers prove the building works as required for at least 1 full year. This ensures that staff members work the kinks out of the system before the application goes in, and provides incentives to make sure no one takes shortcuts during the construction process.

I’m looking forward to reading more Facilities Net articles on healthcare facilities.


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