When the new Parkland Hospital campus team looked around for a site, it found the answer right in its own backyard. Situated literally across the street from the current campus, the new location allows Parkland to continue to take advantage of its close proximity to the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center’s medical school and the Children’s Medical Center of Dallas. “The site was previously industrial usage with numerous large warehouses, which has allowed us to repurpose and revitalize a rundown area into a thriving medical community,” says Kathy Harper, vice president of clinical coordination for the new Parkland campus.
The City of Dallas made the location even more desirable by extending Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) to the new campus. “It’s fast becoming a multiuse part of the city with a healthy live-work environment as well as a model of what health care will look like in the future,” Harper says.
Parkland’s budget was $1.27 billion, which includes a two-million-square-foot hospital, a utilities plant, an outpatient services building, and a parking garage. Constructing a new health-care facility is enough of a challenge without the additional burden of sustainability, but for Parkland, the choice was an easy one. “As a county hospital funded in part by tax dollars, we are stewards of the community’s resources,” Harper says. “The original hospital was completed in 1954, and after several surveys, we determined it was more cost efficient to build rather than renovate, and our sustainability initiatives will save the system a significant amount in operational expenses.”
Harper admits, however, that sustainability initiatives could not take priority over a healing, supportive environment for patients. As a result, the new Parkland campus team sought ways to promote sustainability throughout the system without it being overly visible or distracting from an operations standpoint.
The hospital wanted the project to attain at least LEED Silver certification but is reaching for LEED Gold by coupling a campus-wide recycling program with the leading-edge technologies for energy efficiency. Being the largest health-care project currently in progress in the world, Parkland is setting an example for other hospitals. “A hospital is in use 24/7, so reducing the amount of energy used for lighting and other needs was one chief issue to address,” Harper says.
Although the new campus will not be completed until 2014, the buildings already in place are having an impact. The parking garage was one of the first structures completed, and it is topped with photovoltaic panels that provide the garage with constant electricity. The utilities plant boasts a highly efficient York heat-pump chiller that produces chilled water for the hospital and recycles excess heat back into the hospital. “The utility plant features pumps, chillers, boilers, and air handlers all equipped with Toshiba and Yaskawa variable speed drives that adjust and adapt to the capacity needed,” says Maria Dierking, senior program manager for the new Parkland Central Utility Plant and MEP.
Water usage throughout the campus will be controlled with low-flow sinks, toilets and, showers; in total, they are predicted to reduce water use by as much as 60 percent, or 6.8 million gallons a year. Also saving water is the drought-tolerant native landscaping of the hospital’s planned 24,000-square-foot Wellness Park, whose design and weather-based control system will reduce irrigation water use by as much as 60 percent, or 7.6 million gallons.
The new buildings are addressing energy efficiency through several different avenues. Windows have been designed to reduce heat gain as have the facility’s advanced lighting systems. A low-voltage control system by WattStopper allows computerized lighting control, so wattage can be lowered in areas such as patient rooms or hallways during off-peak times. Multiple lighting zones in patient rooms allow staff to use the proper wattage efficiently and with fewer disturbances to the patient. The new lighting systems alone are projected to save at least 30 percent of the energy used in the building.