Stanford center West Coast’s first LEED platinum children’s hospital

Stanford center West Coast’s first LEED platinum children’s hospital

Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford. Photo courtesy of Tim Griffith

The new main building at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford has been awarded LEED platinum certification by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). 

The hospital in Palo Alto, Calif., which opened in December 2017, is one of just five new hospitals — and the second children’s hospital — in the world to earn the USGBC’s Platinum designation, according to the hospital.

Innovative systems were built into the 521,000-square-foot building and 3.5 acres of gardens and green space to achieve the highest possible sustainability standards and to reduce energy and water use. As a result, Packard Children’s overall energy consumption is expected to be reduced by 60 percent and its water consumption is expected to drop by nearly 40 percent compared to regional hospital averages, officials said.

Designers estimate that overall the hospital has reduced its carbon emissions by 90 percent compared to the average U.S. hospital. 

Packard Children’s Hospital is the first major hospital in California to implement the use of a displacement ventilation system and the first hospital in the country to use it in all acute care patient rooms. Displacement ventilation foregoes the traditional approach of blowing cool air from ceiling registers, which requires more energy to push the air down. Instead, it brings air into rooms at the floor level. Displacement ventilation also improves indoor air quality and reduces audible ventilation noise.

A distinct feature of the building’s facade are the horizontal orange slats, called louvers, positioned like awnings across the top of each window. These are part of an external shading system that minimizes direct sunlight penetration into the building, which helps reduce solar gain — the increase in temperature caused by the sun. It also cuts down on the need for air conditioning, which requires both energy and water. Minimizing direct sunlight penetration into the building is also essential for the displacement ventilation system to work effectively. Hence, the design of the exterior walls directly supports the hospital’s ventilation system selection and its energy efficiency goals.

Additionally, the hospital’s data center is positioned on the roof rather than in the basement, a move that reduces the fan energy required to keep it cool and allows it to use cool nighttime outdoor air rather than air-conditioned air for much of the year.

The hospital’s water-conserving, energy-efficient equipment, such as dishwashers and sterilizers, are projected to use about 80 percent less water than their standard counterparts. Water-cooled pumps and air compressors are being eliminated to reduce water usage, and on-demand sinks and ultra-low-flow bathroom fixtures are expected to save 2.5 million gallons of water per year.

Packard Children’s is one of the early pilot facilities for LEED credits related to nature connectivity. The hospital’s grounds add 3.5 acres of gardens and green space to the pediatric campus. These gardens offer distinct places of respite to both families and staff, including outdoor overlooks on every nursing unit as well as a series of garden spaces adjacent to the lobby, on the main concourse floor, and near the staff entrance. In addition, outdoor planters are integrated in the solar-shading system, providing an immediate connection to nature for every patient room and at the centralized family lounges on each floor.

The hospital’s drought-tolerant and water-efficient landscaping is irrigated with non-potable water only, which is collected in two 55,000-gallon underground cisterns. The cistern system filters, stores, and reuses water collected from rainfall, mechanical equipment condensate, and even hemodialysis. 


Topics: Architectural Firms, Associations / Organizations, Building Owners and Managers, Certifications, Construction Firms, Daylighting / Skylights / Natural Lighting, Energy Saving Products, Exteriors, Healthcare - Hospitals & Medical Facilities, Healthy & Comfortable Buildings, HVAC - Heating, Cooling, and Ventilation, Landscaping Architecture - Design & Maintenance, Plumbing, Sustainable Communities, Technology, Thermal Envelope - Building Envelope, USGBC, Ventilation, Wall Systems / Curtain Walls, Water Saving Strategies and Devices

Companies: U.S. Green Building Council

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