Published on : January 13, 2011

Case Study: Parrish Medical Center

Case Study: Parrish Medical Center

Building green design into healthcare systems

Advanced medical technologies and best-in-class care partners are integral to any healthcare facility’s success; however, it takes more than technology and staff to ensure the highest level of care for patients.

To achieve and maintain optimum environments for care, healthcare facilities must engage in innovative and fiscally responsible facility management. Building efficiency plans should support patient comfort and workplace productivity, while also factoring in sustainability measures.

Healing through Innovation

Building for sustainability is a natural extension of a patient-centered healing experience. Recognizing that the physical environment can play a significant role in patient care, while supporting reduced operational costs and carbon emissions, the Parrish Medical Center (PMC) in Titusville, Florida, chose to implement green design and energy efficient upgrades to construct its new facility, Parrish Healthcare Center at Port St. John.

Completed in 2009, the outpatient healthcare campus was designed to meet the needs of the growing Port St. John community, located 20 miles south of the main PMC hospital. Approximately 60 healthcare professionals and support staff work at the 72,500 square-foot facility, which houses diagnostic imaging, physical therapy and rehabilitation, a sleep-disorder lab and physicians’ offices.

The facility is a model for energy efficient infrastructure and is the first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) silver certified healthcare outpatient building in the state of Florida. The certification from the U.S. Green Building Council recognizes high performance facilities that support sustainable planning, design, and construction, as well as a quality environment for occupants. To receive LEED silver certification, PMC had to meet criteria in six categories, including: sustainable site development, water conservation, energy and atmosphere, material and resources, indoor environment quality, and innovative design.

How did PMC combine excellence in health and medicine with building management to attain LEED certification? Hospital leadership turned to Johnson Controls to serve as project partner and LEED consultant. The collaboration provided LEED-accredited professionals from process through completion to achieve a holistically designed and energy efficient facility based on patient-centered outcomes.

The Silver Lining of LEED Certification

The first step toward achieving LEED silver certification is to conduct an energy audit. The audit analyzes the hospital’s current energy usage, identifying wasteful processes and activities, provides solutions where improvements can be made. As part of the audit, key internal and external stakeholders were interviewed to explore cost effective, integrated systems, infrastructure and technologies. The forum for defining and communicating PMC’s vision enabled upfront planning, which helped align the hospital’s design and budget goals with the LEED certification system.

The energy audit also included the evaluation of credits for cost, payback timeframe and savings in energy and operational costs. A model of the new healthcare campus’ energy consumption enabled the project to be tied to an energy savings performance contract. A performance contract allows PMC to reduce its utility costs and carbon footprint, while using cost savings generated through reducing energy to repay the project capital investment over the term of the contract.

The Makings of an Energy Efficient Haven

The Parrish Healthcare Center at Port St. John project included six key components that helped the facility to become LEED certified and achieved the goal of creating an energy efficient environment for employees and patients.

Sustainable site development set the stage for facility construction. PMC provides incentives for energy efficient behaviors, such as preferred parking for alternative fuel vehicles and carpoolers. Reflective roofing material reduces heat gain, enabling heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment to run more efficiently. Storm water is managed and treated for landscape maintenance, and light pollution is minimized through onsite light retention efforts.

Water conservation measures contribute to overall facility sustainability and support PMC’s environmental stewardship. The installation of low-flow plumbing fixtures, dual flush toilets and waterless urinals reduce water usage by up to 50 percent. Holding ponds trap water for use in irrigation throughout the healthcare campus and the use of native vegetation requires 50 percent less water, further extending water loss reductions.

A Metasys building management system integrates building controls, including lighting, HVAC and security systems across the campus to ensure streamlined and efficient facility management. High-efficiency lighting incorporates occupancy and daylighting sensors to reduce light pollution and conserve energy. YORK HVAC equipment uses environmentally friendly refrigerants to reduce environmental impact.

Engaging PMC staff to help plan and implement recycling programs and procedures encourages employee participation in sustainability efforts. Policies and processes implemented diverted 50 percent of construction waste from landfills. Ten percent of construction materials contain recycled content, and 60 percent of manufactured materials were obtained within 500 miles of the construction site, cutting down on high costs and carbon emissions associated with transportation and delivery.

Indoor environment quality is a high priority for all healthcare facilities. PMC ensured that from its groundbreaking on, patients have a care-conscious setting during their time at the facility. Indoor air quality was a key element evaluated with a no smoking policy established, and low volatile organic compound (VOC) adhesives, sealants, paints, carpeting and composite woods used. The Metasys building management system monitors for the ongoing efficiency of HVAC equipment and carbon dioxide levels.

Innovation and design were criteria as part of the LEED certification. PMC provided a communications program for its staff, including sustainability and energy education to help employees and patients learn the benefits of an environmentally responsible facility. Educational kiosks throughout the medical center inform patients and visitors of the new building’s energy efficient features. A high-performance green housekeeping program was implemented to keep facilities safe and clean while reducing the use of harsh chemicals and cleaning products. This program is especially important because medical facilities are often 24-hour operations. Constant sterilization, cleaning, and maintenance must be conducted to keep the facility safe and secure for all occupants.

Additionally, the facility includes nature trails and a wildlife preserve land allocation to provide a healthy and healing environment for patients, and a habitat for the endangered Scrub-Jay.

Creating a Sanctuary for Patients

The Parrish Healthcare Center’s design is intended to create a peaceful environment for patients. The design incorporates seven elements of a healing environment:

  •  Nature – The area’s existing ecology was integrated into the facility’s design. Plants and a fountain are included in the atrium, bringing the outdoors inside.
  • Color and healthy lighting – Soothing colors create a therapeutic environment, while sophisticated lighting is easily customizable to meet the needs of a wide range of patients.
  • Healthy building – Interior building materials use recycled content and emit low VOCs.
  • Physical security – Patients, visitors, and staff can rest assured knowing that the facility includes a state-of-the-art security system. The facility is also equipped to withstand natural disasters such as hurricanes.
  • Wayfinding – Visible graphics and signage denote the different areas of the building, ensuring that it is easily navigable for patients, staff, and visitors.
  • Cultural responsiveness – Colors, fabric textures, and artwork specific to the region are incorporated in the facility’s interior design.

These features enable patients to heal their bodies, minds, and spirits while at the facility.

A New Opportunity for Healthcare Facilities

Achieving its goal of implementing sustainability measures without compromising overall patient comfort and care, Parrish Medical Center will serve as a model for healthcare facilities. Pursuing LEED certification aligns with healthcare facilities’ patient-centered outcomes. It is also a fiscally responsible choice, providing opportunities for savings in operational and energy costs.

About the Author:

Rick Smith, Director of Healthcare Sales, is responsible for the healthcare vertical market strategy and offerings. He has 22 years of energy-related sales and management experience that covers a variety of vertical markets. Smith has been with Johnson Controls for six years.