UW Health at The American Center has earned LEED Gold Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), making it the first healthcare building in the state of Wisconsin to do so.
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification makes UW Health at The American Center the highest certified project under LEED for Building Design and Construction’s healthcare category in Wisconsin, according to the release. Additionally, it ranks The American Center as one of 17 in the world and one of 10 in the U.S. for gold-level certification in healthcare.
The USGBC bases its certifications on categories including sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality and innovation in design. It also considers local and regional factors to determine the best environmental design and construction practices.
It’s a high honor to be recognized in such a rigorous process, said Mary Evers Statz, director of sustainability for UW Health.
“You can’t do just one of these categories in order to achieve gold, you need robust initiatives within each of those different categories,” Evers Statz said.
Features in The American Center that were ranked highly in the process include bike storage at the site and changing rooms with showers so staff can bike to work, shower then change clothes, Evers Statz said. Additionally, the parking lot lights are directed downward to minimize light pollution.
The American Center’s open space is also maximized to be water-efficient, with no need for irrigation. Outdoors, there are walking paths for patients and staff. Inside the building, Evers Statz said builders emphasized keeping enough fresh air throughout the building to increase air quality.
“The whole philosophy of the campus and of the building is health and wellness, so we wanted to exemplify that in the design, construction and operation of the building itself,” Evers Statz said.
During the building process, 77 percent of construction waste was diverted away from landfills through recycling and reuse. Building materials were also drawn from sources as close as possible to Wisconsin to be more sustainable, Evers Statz said. Additionally, the building has 60 percent measured water savings compared to similar buildings, which is important due to the large amount of water a hospital uses.
Promoting healthy buildings can support the health of people around them, Evers Statz said.
“It’s not just taking care of the immediate patient need,” she said. “It’s really promoting a culture of health and wellness for everybody.”