02:00 AM

Children's Mercy East Earns LEED 'Green' Certification'

The latest example of Children's Mercy Hospitals and Clinics commitment to being a good steward of the environment came with the recent notification that Children's Mercy East has officially been awarded LEED Certification

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a voluntary program that provides third-party verification, through the U.S. Green Building Council, that a building has been designed and built using strategies to achieve high performance in key areas such as human and environmental health; sustainable site development; water savings; energy efficiency; materials selection; and indoor environmental quality.

"LEED certification is the most recognized global standard for socially responsible, high-performance buildings that are efficient, cost effective and better for occupants and the environment," said Jennifer Kash, architect for HMN Architects, Inc., the firm that designed Children's Mercy East.

Lonnie Breaux, Children's Mercy Vice President-Facilities Management, said, "Our institution has always strived to put patients and families first in everything we do; from creating health care spaces that are bright, fun and less intimidating, to providing age-appropriate distractions to take children's minds off the procedures being done. It is easy to see how that approach to pediatric health care extends to a desire to be good stewards of the environment."

Many of the hospital's standard construction practices and requirements are already in compliance or surpass LEED program requirements, including: installation of the most efficient mechanical and electrical systems that provide better performing buildings and lower overhead; the requirement that casework (cabinets) and flooring systems be low-emitting products; and the standards that all campuses are tobacco-free to promote better indoor air quality. Because CM East was new construction, extra measures were possible.

One of the most distinguishable sustainable design components of CM East is the "vegetative roofing system" that replaces heat-absorbing surfaces with plants and shrubs that cool the air through "evapotranspiration." About 33 percent of the roof area comprises a vegetative roof; the remainder of the roof area is a white roofing membrane that reflects the sun.

Other features that enabled CM East to earn LEED Certification include use of:

  • Plumbing fixtures that will achieve a 30 percent reduction in the amount of potable water use;
  • Materials with higher percentages of recycled content to reduce the draw upon the earth's natural resources;
  • Materials that are available regionally (within 500 miles of the site) to reduce pollution that would result from transporting materials over greater distances;
  • Light fixtures that provide greater task lighting control and occupancy sensors to turn off overall room lighting in unoccupied spaces;
  • Certified wood harvested in accordance with principles and criteria of the Forest Stewardship Council.
  • CM East also has parking lot design, landscaping, recycling and educational signage that supported LEED Certification.

"Children's Mercy is to be commended because it is very difficult for hospital buildings to achieve LEED Certification," Kash said. "The high water usage, air conditioning and temperature controls, and other requirements involved with facilities such as labs and operating rooms make it a lot harder for hospitals than for standard commercial buildings."


East roof

(From left) Molly Vangorp, Audiologist II; Patt Lawlor, Audiologist; Amy Cogan, CAII; and Michelle Martin, CAII are on one of the most distinguishable sustainable design components of CM East, the "vegetative roofing system." About 33 percent of the roof area at CM East comprises a vegetative roof, which replaces heat-absorbing surfaces with plants and shrubs that cool the air through "evapotranspiration."