Hospital is first in Virginia to achieve LEED® Certification
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Rockingham Memorial Hospital (RMH) in Harrisonburg, Va., is the first inpatient healthcare facility in the state of Virginia, and the second of its size in the nation to achieve LEED® Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.
The new 630,000-square-foot healthcare facility opened in June. Nashville-based Earl Swensson Associates, Inc. (ESa) architectural firmand SSRCx, a commissioning firm which consults on building and operating high-performance green buildings, were on the project team. “LEED-Gold certification is a huge accomplishment for any facility, especially for a hospital in a rural area,” said Eric Sheffer of Smith Seckman Reid (SSR), the Nashville-based engineering and sustainable consulting firm that consulted on the new RMH facility. “Rockingham has implemented some creative alternative energy management and sustainability strategies that truly represent a team effort between the hospital, the design team and local municipalities.”
For Dennis Coffman, director of Facilities Planning and Development at RMH, the announcement was the culmination of years of dedicated work to ensure the new hospital project would meet LEED guidelines.
“We are extremely pleased to be named the first ‘green’ hospital of this size in Virginia,” Coffman said. “We made this choice not for recognition, but because it’s the right thing to do for our community — now and for future generations. Being ‘green’ is cost-effective and it ensures we will continue to be good financial stewards of our community’s resources.”
“We share Rockingham’s excitement about this significant achievement, because this is ESa’s first Gold LEED certified replacement hospital that we’ve designed,” says ESa director of medical design and principal Harold Petty, AIA. “The original goal was to achieve a Silver LEED certification, but Rockingham actually exceeded that level. This recognition now places Rockingham Memorial Hospital within a unique, small group of hospitals in the U.S. We are just honored to have been a part of this accomplishment.”
From the earliest stages of the project, RMH administrators and facility planning staff were committed to building an environmentally friendly hospital on the 254-acre site that maintained the integrity of the pastoral site chosen for the new campus. Hospital layout and design took advantage of the rolling terrain by creating a split-level of public spaces so patients, families and staff can enjoy views of the Shenandoah Valley.
“The site for the new Rockingham hospital and health campus inspired our vision: to create a campus in harmony with the surrounding area, with facilities designed to bring the best of 21st century health, wellness and medical care to our community,” Coffman said. “It simply made sense to do the right thing for the environment and the community in the way we approached our mission of healing.”
LEED features include: • Rainwater runoff is captured in a containment pond flowing into a lake and filtered before reaching the ecosystem • Methane gas from a nearby landfill is used toheat some of the building • Concrete barn and farmhouse foundations on the site were recycled for gravel during construction • 76% of materials were recycled, including metal, drywall, glass, paper, cardboard, plastic, brick and rubble, concrete and masonry • Low-VOC paints, sealants, carpets and flooring were used throughout the hospital • Bicycle racks were installed on the hospital campus • Showers are available for employees who want to ride bikes and run on-site
Walking trails, playing fields and healing gardens throughout the new hospital and health campus encourage community use for health and wellness. Beyond LEED requirements, RMH additionally recycles sharps containers for medical waste. All LEED-certified buildings are required to recycle ongoing consumables; however, medical waste is not tracked in the LEED system, Sheffer noted. As a member and owner in the Virginia Health Care Waste Management Cooperative, RMH has diverted more than 149,600pounds of plastics from Virginia landfills since 2004.
Rockingham Memorial Hospital is a 238-bed full-service community hospital located just outside Harrisonburg, Va. The hospital admits more than 15,500 patients and delivers approximately 1,750 babies per year. Approximately 70,000 people visit the RMH Emergency Department annually. RMH’s regional services include interventional cardiology, heart surgery, general surgery, women’s health and cancer care.