Children’s of Alabama Expansion in Birmingham Gets Energy and Environmental Design Award

The U.S. Green Building Council has recognized Children’s of Alabama’s Benjamin Russell Hospital for Children in Birmingham for its energy conservation expansion that opened a year ago this month. The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design award is for the hospital’s design and its use of sustainable, energy-efficient, and environmentally responsible material, Children’s announced.

The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating system recognizes sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection, and indoor environmental quality, Children’s said.

“We have the responsibility and privilege to serve the families of our community,” said Children’s President and CEO Mike Warren. “That includes not only providing exceptional pediatric health care but also being good stewards of our shared environment. The expansion was designed with careful consideration for the environment affected around it and created within it.”

Children’s $400 million, 670,000-square-feet expansion opened in August 2012 for new patients, to house future medical technology needs, consolidate services, and provide patient and family comfort.

Children’s said an energy-efficient mechanical system was installed and the expansion was aligned north and south so rooms can receive sunlight and save on energy costs. Air conditioning condensate waters plants and cools equipment. Ground-floor landscaping included local plants and the rooftop garden was planted with a native ground cover that is low-maintenance and heat- and drought-tolerant, Children’s said.

To reduce construction pollution, building material from demolished buildings was used as was low-emission material. Sustainability initiatives included using recycled raw material in construction and local material to reduce transportation fuel costs, and natural materials in terrazzo flooring.

The Children’s project was partly underwritten by part of a $10 million gift from Birmingham-based McWane Inc. The McWane Foundation challenged Children’s to build an energy-efficient and environmentally sensitive facility. Children’s has provided specialized medical care for ill and injured children for 102 years.

Suzanne Respess, Children’s Vice President of Government Relations, is on the Business Council of Alabama’s board of directors and serves as chair of BCA’s Federal Affairs Committee.

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-Dana Beyerle