Big D Get Big Green Hospital

Plans have been announced to replace The Parkland County Public Hospital in Dallas.  The plans are exciting, environmentally friendly and socially responsible.  Everyone connected to the project is enthusiastically embracing the hospital’s new green philosophy.Parkland’s president and chief executive, Dr. Ron Anderson, announced the $1.27 billion construction project on April 22, 2009.  The new facility will be located on more than 65 acres across from the current Parkland Hospital on Harry Hines Boulevard.  Construction will begin in early 2010 and should be completed by 2014.Excited administrators, architects and planners have begun spreading the green word.  The building hopes to accomplish a silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) rating system.Mitch Paradise is with Corgan Associates of Dallas and will head the architectural team.  “There are a lot of misconceptions about going green and the expense of doing it.  If you do it right, there are great efficiencies, such as lower utility costs.”Parkland has many green initiatives.  One immediate goal is to reduce the amount of materials hauled to local landfills.  A robust recycling program has been recommended by the architects, who have also designed a system to reduce water consumption by 20%.To encourage employee cooperation, the hospital will install bike racks and provide showers and changing areas for employees who ride instead of drive to work.  Employee mindset is important to Parkland and the health care facility is doing everything within its power and budget to create a happy, healthy workplace.Under the LEED® rating system, the biking facilities earn one LEED® point.  Specific parking for fuel-efficient vehicles earns another point, while positioning the building to capitalize on the natural lighting can earn a third point.Jim Henry is a lead designer with HDR Architecture whom is cooperating with Corgan Associates on the $44 million design.  Henry is an energy efficiency expert and says, “Energy efficiency is a big part of a sustainable design.  Having access to natural light and views of nature are part of having a very healthy building.”

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