Monroe Clinic Joins Rare LEED-Certified-Hospital Group

Hospital overcomes health-care facilities' energy- and water-consumptive operations to attain LEED Silver; one of just 515 health care facilities in the world recognized for sustainable design and construction

02 Monroe Clinic Landscaping 11118789
Leed Logo Blk 10620458

Monroe Clinic’s replacement hospital in Monroe, Wis. has been awarded LEED Silver certification established by the U.S. Green Building Council and verified by the Green Building Certification Institute. LEED is the nation’s preeminent program for the design, construction and operation of high-performance “green” buildings.

For an interactive feature article on the construction of the Monroe Clinic, click here to access Sustainable Construction magazine.

Architecture and experience design firm Kahler Slater designed the hospital and worked with Monroe Clinic’s staff throughout the certification process.

The hospital joins the small number of LEED-certified buildings that are health-care-related. As of May 1, there were only 515 LEED-certified health care projects worldwide, representing only three percent of all LEED-certified commercial projects worldwide. And most of those facilities are not as energy-intensive as hospitals.

The 225,000-square-foot, four-story, $83 million hospital opened its doors in March 2012 and features 50 acute- and critical-care beds, an expanded emergency department, imaging, a surgery and procedure center, birthing and women’s health services, a cardiology department and cardiac rehabilitation services.

LEED Certification Rare for Health Care Facilities

Hospitals’ large size, always-open status, and stringent operating requirements make achieving the energy and water savings required to achieve LEED certification particularly difficult, said Kahler Slater’s Jake Gehring, M.Arch, EDAC, a facility planner and designer and member of the project team. The team at Monroe Clinic was undaunted by the challenge.

“They saw the big picture and the variety of benefits of implementing the strategies and practices necessary to achieve LEED certification,” he said. “At the outset, they set a goal of having the hospital become LEED-certified and were committed to finding creative ways to achieve that goal.”

Monroe Clinic President and Chief Executive Officer Mike Sanders said, “It’s not just about the accountability and proof that LEED certification brings, but being stewards of the Earth. It’s a source of pride for our community and the organization. We hope by adding these calming touches of natural lighting and views of nature, we heal not just the body but the mind and spirit, too.”

Green Strategies, Practices and Products

Among the sustainable strategies, practices and products designed and built into the replacement hospital were:

  • The most visible sign of the hospital’s commitment to sustainability is its three intensive vegetative roofs, totaling 11,000 square feet. Two are near patient rooms and the third, by the chapel, is accessible to staff, patients and visitors.
  • Leading-edge boilers and chillers that are more than 30 percent more efficient than code requirements were installed, reducing the hospital’s annual energy costs by over $200,000.
  • Modular heat recovery chillers allow heated supply air to be returned to warm incoming fresh air, further cutting heating and cooling costs by 30 percent to 35 percent.
  • Excess heat from the data center is captured and funneled to the helipad’s coiling ice-melt system during Wisconsin’s cold, snowy winters, helping ensure safety and eliminating the need to spread chemical de-icing agents on the landing area and walking paths.
  • The water softening system is equipped with brine reclamation technology that returns some of the salt water to the brine tank for reuse. The system uses 25 percent less water and salt than conventional systems and reduces the amount of brine sent to the local water treatment facility.
  • The entire building is equipped with energy-efficient lighting, reducing the hospital’s energy use by 30 percent and lowering annual energy costs by more than $35,000.
  • More than 90 percent of construction waste – 5,276 tons in all – was recycled.
  • 143 tons of scrap drywall generated during construction was repurposed as soil amendment and animal bedding at a nearby farm, greatly improving cow comfort and saving Monroe Clinic the cost of disposing of the drywall.
  • High-performance Low-E windows and exterior sun shades focus patient attention outward while reducing summer heat absorption and winter heat loss.
  • All plumbing components, from faucets to toilets and showerheads, are low-flow to reduce water consumption. Toilets are equipped with dual-flush systems, allowing users to control their water consumption.
  • Bottle fillers are located at drinking fountains to encourage sufficient hydration for staff and other users and reduce waste from plastic water bottles.
  • Low-VOC (volatile organic compound), ceramic-based paints were used throughout the building, helping maintain healthy indoor air quality.
  • The hospital was built on the site of a former hospital parking lot, thus maintaining the campus footprint and preserving adjacent neighborhoods.
  • Taking advantage of the building site’s natural slope, the central utility plant was designed as a two-story space, cutting the plant’s footprint in half.
  • The 500-space staff parking lot was designed with narrower parking spaces that, while still wide enough for easy access, saved more than 5,000 square feet of asphalt. 
  • Campus water runoff is directed to a dry retention pond, reducing municipal storm water management capacity requirements. 

Kahler Slater’s Fourth LEED-Certified Health Care Facility

Monroe Clinic’s replacement hospital is the fourth LEED-certified health care facility designed by Kahler Slater. The University of Wisconsin Medical Foundation’s UW Health Stoughton clinic in Stoughton, Wis. was the first health care facility in Wisconsin to receive LEED Silver certification. Martha Jefferson Hospital in Charlottesville, Va. and the UW Health Yahara Clinic in Monona, Wis. are LEED Certified.

In all, nine Kahler Slater-designed facilities have received LEED certification – including two that have received LEED Gold certification and, with Monroe Clinic, four that have received LEED Silver certification.

About Kahler Slater

Founded in 1908, Milwaukee-based Kahler Slater began as a regional provider of architecture and interior design services and has grown to become a global, award-winning team of Experience Designers. With three offices in the United States and Singapore, Kahler Slater is a team of creative problem-solvers who work with visionary clients seeking better experiences and environments for themselves and the people they serve. Follow Kahler Slater online at and on Twitter at @KAHLERSLATER.

About Monroe Clinic

Monroe Clinic is a not-for-profit, single-hospital health system serving communities in southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois. Sponsored by the Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes, the system includes a multi-specialty physician practice with 118 employed providers, 11 clinic locations, a 24-hour emergency department, a home care and hospice agency, a retail health clinic and primary care sites offering preventive, acute and rehabilitative care.

In 2012, Monroe Clinic provided $24.3 million, or approximately 15 percent of the total net operating revenue, in unreimbursed services to benefit the communities it serves. Monroe Clinic was named one of the 100 Top Hospitals® in the U.S. by Thomson Reuters in 2006 and 2008. For more information about Monroe Clinic, please visit

About LEED

The U.S. Green Building Council's LEED green building certification system is the foremost program for the design, construction and operation of green buildings. Over 100,000 projects are currently participating in the LEED rating systems, comprising over 8 billion square feet of construction space in all 50 states and 114 countries. By using less energy, LEED-certified buildings save money for families, businesses and taxpayers; reduce greenhouse gas emissions; and contribute to a healthier environment for residents, workers and the larger community.

USGBC was co-founded by current President and CEO Rick Fedrizzi, who spent 25 years as a Fortune 500 executive. Under his 15-year leadership, the organization has become the preeminent green building, membership, policy, standards, education and research organization in the nation. For more information, visit

About U.S. Green Building Council

The Washington, D.C.-based U.S. Green Building Council is committed to a prosperous and sustainable future for the United States through cost-efficient and energy-saving green buildings. With a community comprising 80 local affiliates, more than 18,000 member companies and organizations, and more than 167,000 LEED Professional Credential holders, USGBC is the driving force of an industry that is projected to contribute $554 billion to the U.S. gross domestic product from 2009 to 2013. USGBC leads a diverse constituency of builders and environmentalists, corporations and nonprofit organizations, elected officials and concerned citizens, teachers and students.

Buildings in the United States are responsible for 39 percent of carbon dioxide emissions, 40 percent of energy consumption, 13 percent of water consumption and 15 percent of GDP per year, making green building a source of significant economic and environmental opportunity. Greater building efficiency can meet 85 percent of future U.S. demand for energy, and a national commitment to green building has the potential to generate 2.5 million American jobs.