Penn Medicine’s Pavilion Marks Healthcare ‘First’ with LEED Gold Building Certification for Sustainability

Penn Medicine’s new Pavilion on the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania’s campus has broken new ground for sustainable healthcare construction and design with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Healthcare Gold Certification.

Incorporating sustainability efforts since the beginning of its development, the 17-story, future-ready patient facility is the largest certified project in the world to achieve Gold certification or higher in LEED v4 Healthcare (the latest LEED Healthcare rating system version). At 1.5 million square feet, the pavilion—which opened at the end of October — is also the first hospital in the U.S. of more than 1 million square feet to achieve certification in LEED Healthcare.

Conservation initiatives during the project included recycling materials that were collected after the demolition of Penn Tower, which formerly stood on the new hospital’s site, including 291 tons of scrap steel and 17,000 tons of concrete. In addition, during construction, about 25% of materials were prefabricated and manufactured offsite, including more than 570 mechanical/electrical/plumbing racks and all 504 bathrooms for each patient room. This process minimized onsite waste, reduced traffic impact and site congestion, increased quality and lowered cost.

Overall, the energy efficiency efforts in the pavilion are anticipated to save more than 14% in annual energy costs compared to merely a code-compliant hospital. The building itself also uses 100% outside air through its HVAC system, using energy recovery wheels to capture and repurpose waste energy.

Along with saving energy, the facility was constructed to cut 30% of typical indoor water use through the installation of select fixtures and designs that use significantly less water, such as low-flow and low-flush toilets, sinks and showers. More than 20% of the water required for the building’s HVAC equipment is provided by water captured and reused onsite, such as rainwater, condensate and foundation dewatering. Two cisterns, to help supply the chilled water system, are projected to process 7 million gallons of captured non-potable water each year.

The property also includes an acre of greenery through landscaping surrounding the facility—including ground-level greenery that helps “bring the outside in” to patients and employees through abundant windows—and green roofs. Landscaped areas will feature native and hardy species that require minimal watering and maintenance.

The facility’s eco-friendly qualities extend to enabling green transit options for the thousands who will work and visit the pavilion each day. In the 690-space underground parking garage, 2% of parking spaces have access to electric vehicle recharging stations. To promote cycling and walking, 352 new bicycle parking spots have been installed at various locations surrounding the pavilion. A new pedestrian pathway connecting the facility to Penn Medicine Station makes for easily accessible train travel for staff and visitors who use public transportation.

Design and planning  was orchestrated by PennFIRST, an Integrated Project Delivery team comprised of Penn Medicine employees,  HDR, Foster + Partners,  BR+A and L.F. Driscoll and Balfour Beatty.

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Posted December 8, 2021

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