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Northwest's Newest Hospital Is Also One Of The Nation's Greenest

Submitted by: Green Buzz PR, LLC

Categories: Green Building, Corporate Social Responsibility

Posted: Aug 04, 2008 – 01:52 PM EST


Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend demonstrates commitment to environmental stewardship principles

Aug. 04 /CSRwire/ - SPRINGFIELD, OR. - August 5, 2008 - The opening of Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend has been celebrated for the many innovative and patient-friendly design elements incorporated into the new facility. But one of the largest hospital construction projects in the Pacific Northwest in the last decade is also notable for another important reason: its commitment to environmental stewardship principles in the design and building of the facility, making it one of the nation's Greenest hospitals.

Due to concerns surrounding infection control and other public health issues, new hospital construction projects are rightfully among the most heavily regulated building projects, presenting special challenges to designers wanting to incorporate modern Green building principles. But Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend was committed to incorporating environmental stewardship principles into the design of the facility from the onset of the project nearly 10 years ago, and the lead architects for the project, Anshen + Allen, came through with a design that incorporates Green principles throughout the property.

"After we selected RiverBend as the location for our new medical facility, our volunteer Governing Board quickly adopted a policy that underscored the importance of environmental stewardship in the design and building of the project," said Phil Farrington, Director of Land Use Planning and Development for PeaceHealth. "We are proud of what we have accomplished in this area, and will continue to look for additional ways to reduce our environmental impact while delivering exceptional health care."

Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend incorporates a number of Green features that maximize energy efficiency and greatly reduce the amount of chemicals typically used in a hospital facility. These steps include:

  • Investing in an innovative, chemical-free cooling water treatment system. This environmentally friendly technology protects ground water resources by eliminating the need to use or store potentially harmful chemicals that are often used in processes to treat cooling water. This new system, one of only seven such installations nationally, also conserves millions of gallons of water annually, making it extremely efficient.
  • Using digital imaging exclusively within the medical center, thereby eliminating the need for silver recovery and chemical inputs associated with traditional x-ray technology.
  • Adopting an electronic medical record system that will reduce the amount of paper used.
To safeguard the area's natural environment and assure that its beauty is preserved for enjoyment and healing, the hospital made a number of important commitments:
  • It replaced foliage that was removed from the construction site by planting ten trees for every one that was removed. As a result, the hospital expects the site will have 50 percent more tree canopy within 5 to 10 years. The additional tree canopy will help reduce the heat island effect and cool runoff leaving the site.
  • Sacred Heart recycled fir trees required to be removed from the site by milling the wood and using it as paneling in the lobby interior roof, and as habitat enhancement in the site's extensive riverfront restoration.
  • All surface parking lots feature bioswales to treat storm water runoff closest to its source. The bioswales use vegetation, soils, and filter fabric to clean runoff before it reaches the city storm water system.
  • Clean rainfall on building rooftops is directed to "infiltration galleries" on-site that put this runoff back in the ground to replenish the local aquifer.
    Transportation issues have also been addressed with the new design:
  • Sacred Heart Medical Center provides free bus passes to all of its employees, encouraging them to take advantage of mass transit, as well as opportunities to bike and walk.
  • Street design through the site accommodates the planned expansion of Bus Rapid Transit that will provide high capacity transit service immediately adjacent to the medical center.
  • A 0.6-mile long underground pneumatic tube system has been installed between the medical center, the lab, and the pharmacy at the RiverBend Annex that will ferry samples, tests, supplies, and medications through more than 2 miles of pneumatic tubing throughout the medical center. This system reduces fuel consumption and the number of courier vehicle miles traveled between the lab and medical center.
These are but a few of the Green and environmental steps taken by Sacred Heart at RiverBend. Additional examples can be found at www.peacehealth.org/Oregon/News/Facilities/RiverBend/KeepingRiverBendGreen.htm or by contacting the hospital (below).

Sacred Heart Medical Center is one of the largest hospitals between Portland and San Francisco and a regional referral center serving as a Level II trauma center for an 8 county region. Key services for the nonprofit hospital include the Oregon Heart & Vascular Institute, Neurosciences Institute with a Gamma Knife Center, Gerontology Institute, a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and specialized surgical services. Sacred Heart Medical Center has two campuses: University District in Eugene, Oregon, and a new state-of-the-art second campus, Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend, located in neighboring Springfield, Oregon, opening August 2008.

For more information, please contact:

Andrea Ash Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend
Phone: 541.686.7110
Susan Pierson-Brown Seven November, Inc.
Phone: 206.409.4693


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