Environment-Friendly Design Gains Green Rating for New Research Building at Children's Hospital

12/17/2009

Building materials that better retain heat in the winter, and reflect it in the summer; plumbing fixtures that save water; and facilities that encourage employees to bicycle to work. Environmentally-friendly features like these enable the new research building at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia to be certified as a green structure.

The Colket Translational Research Building (CTRB), a $496 million project currently rising on the Hospital's South Campus, has been certified as a LEED building by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). LEED, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is the council's internationally recognized designation for an environmentally responsible building.

Based on information on the USGBC web site, the CTRB's Silver LEED certification places it in the company of less than 10 such buildings in the Philadelphia area, of which CTRB is the only one that includes laboratories. Furthermore, among approximately 50 new construction projects in Pennsylvania, only one other science building has LEED certification.

"CHOP is working to attract and retain some of the best researchers in the world," said Jim Hanson, senior project manager, in Facilities Services and Construction Management at Children's Hospital. Hanson, who is coordinating LEED certification, added, "Part of doing that is having the best building. We believe that today, the best building is a green building."

The building's three lower levels were certified "silver" in July. Final application for certification for the second phase of the project, which consists of 11 above-ground floors, will be submitted for USGBC review after the building is completed in 2010.

The building is the first on the South Campus, the eight acres CHOP owns on the south side of Civic Center Boulevard in West Philadelphia, formerly the Philadelphia Civic Center site.

Here are some examples of design approaches the architect, CHOP project management and the contractor have implemented to make the CRTB "green":
• Approximately 85 percent of construction waste is recycled.
• Seventy-five percent of floor space will have daylight and views to the exterior. Perimeter offices have glass partitions so the light and views extend into adjacent office and lab space.
• Roofing and paving used are light colored and highly reflective to reduce the "heat-island" effect. This occurs when dark city roofs and streets absorb solar energy and radiate it back during the night, creating a warmer microclimate in urban areas. Using light-colored materials minimizes this heat gain, thereby reducing building air conditioning loads.
• A significant portion of the windows are edged with a ceramic frit, a pattern of highly reflective white dots that reduce the amount of solar radiation through the glass and help keep the building cooler.
• Windows are constructed as thermal units, two layers of glass separated by a non-conductive space that significantly reduces seasonal heating and cooling demand.
• The building will be bicycle-commuter-friendly, with plenty of bike racks and restroom showers on every floor.
• Much of the wood furniture and casework is constructed of materials that meet the principles and criteria of the Forest Stewardship Council, an organization committed to encouraging forest managers to adopt environmentally and socially responsible forest management practices.
• Low-flow toilets and sink fixtures reduce water use by 30 percent compared to conventional fixtures.
• The heating, ventilating and air conditioning system is equipped with an energy recovery system, which is critical as laboratories are energy-intensive buildings due to the high air change rates required to maintain health and safety.
• The refrigerants used in the ventilation systems do not use chlorofluorocarbons, which damage the atmosphere's ozone layer.

The three lower levels of the CTRB have been occupied since early 2009. "Jim Hanson did an exceptional job of coordinating a very long and complex certification process with Turner Construction, Ballinger Architects and our LEED consultant, Viridian Energy and Environmental," said John McDonough, senior vice president of Facilities, Real Estate and Construction.

Oncology Research just moved into the third floor of the above-ground second phase in October. All 11 floors (415,000 square feet, not counting underground space) will be complete next spring. CHOP's second research building, the CTRB is designed to be built higher, and someday may double in size, to reach 22 stories. CHOP's long-term plans for developing its new South Campus include a new ambulatory care building to the east of the CTRB, with an underground parking garage and a landscaped plaza along with future additional clinical and research facilities.

"Translational" research focuses on moving findings from the laboratory to patient care. The building is named for long-time CHOP supporters Ruth M. and Tristram C. Colket Jr., whose $25 million gift helped make it possible. Eventually it will hold 50 principal investigators and their teams.
 

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About The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia: The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia was founded in 1855 as the nation's first pediatric hospital. Through its long-standing commitment to providing exceptional patient care, training new generations of pediatric healthcare professionals and pioneering major research initiatives, Children's Hospital has fostered many discoveries that have benefited children worldwide. Its pediatric research program is among the largest in the country, ranking second in National Institutes of Health funding. In addition, its unique family-centered care and public service programs have brought the 441-bed hospital recognition as a leading advocate for children and adolescents. For more information, visit http://www.chop.edu.