The UW Health Yahara Clinic in Monona, Wis., has become LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified for sustainable design and construction. Developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), LEED is an internationally recognized, voluntary program that provides a framework for designing, constructing, operating and maintaining high-performance, sustainable buildings.
The facility joins the small portion of LEED-certified buildings that are health care-related, explained Matthew Tendler, principal at architecture and experience design firm Kahler Slater and LEED specialist on the project. As of Nov. 30, only 438 LEED-certified facilities in the United States listed health care as a space type, representing only 3.1 percent of all LEED-certified projects nationwide.
“Health care facilities are particularly challenging when it comes to sustainable design, given their stringent operating requirements and inherently high demands for energy and water,” Tendler said.
A team from Kahler Slater’s Milwaukee office were the architects and interior designers on the project. J.H. Findorff & Son Inc.’s Madison office was the general contractor. Livesey Company of Madison was the developer.
Opened in October 2011, the 32,656-square-foot facility offers family medicine, laboratory, X-ray, mammography and physical therapy services, as well as health and nutrition education and group classes. The clinic is operated by the University of Wisconsin Medical Foundation, one of the largest multi-specialty medical groups in Wisconsin and the nation.
In implementing sustainable practices, the clinic has reduced its potable water use by 37 percent, reduced its annual energy costs by 14.7 percent, and helped maintain healthy indoor air quality.
Maintaining Healthy Indoor Air Quality
Choosing products, technologies and techniques that help maintain healthy indoor air quality was a key priority, said Mark Larson, associate principal with Kahler Slater and manager of the clinic project.
All ceiling systems, wallboards and finish materials, such as carpeting, paints, wallcoverings and sealants, meet or exceed LEED standards for low emittance of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Before the clinic moved into the facility, the building was flushed out with fresh air for two weeks to remove any pollutants that may have been emitted by building materials.
“Green” cleaning practices maintain indoor air quality and infection control standards while also helping protect the global environment – and earned the project “Innovation Points” as part of the LEED certification process. Vacuum cleaners have HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters. Low-VOC-emitting cleaning products are used.
Access to Natural Light
Access to natural light was another key driver in the facility’s design. Offices and other spaces used primarily by the staff are located along the building’s exterior and have windows, while exam and procedure rooms are located toward the inside.
“It’s the opposite of what you often see in a clinic, but it makes a lot of sense,” Larson said. “The light is shared as much as possible with the staff members who are in the building all day. Clerestory windows then transfer the light to the patient spaces, giving those areas an open feel while also enhancing privacy.”
Other Sustainable Features and Practices
Among the other sustainable practices used in designing, building, operating and maintaining the UW Yahara Clinic are: