St. Elizabeth Hospital’s New Bed Tower: A Sustainable Approach
At Ministry Health Care, our organizational value of wisdom reminds us that we are called to be responsible stewards, as the earth’s resources do not belong to us. The new, five-story bedtower at St. Elizabeth Hospital in Appleton was designed with a sustainable approach and embodies this value.
The Fremont Tower opened in January 2015 and includes 90 patient rooms, which provide a peaceful place for healing. It also houses a restaurant-style cafeteria, central utilities and hospital support services.
The building has many sustainable features, including efficient mechanical systems and use of natural light. The rectangular building was deliberately positioned at an east-west angle, which makes the best use of passive solar energy. Large windows are found throughout the building, including in patient rooms, hallways and the cafeteria.
“When we planned the new building, our goal was to create a restful place for patients to heal and a great place for associates to work,” explains Iqbal Mian, a lean leader who focuses on sustainability efforts at Ministry Health Care. “We also wanted the building to be sustainable, so we deliberately planned and constructed the building in this way. For example, water is a precious resource, so we installed low-flow faucets, toilets and showers throughout the building. Because of these water conservation practices, the building uses 275,000 fewer gallons of water each year.”
The new building has ground-floor and rooftop gardens, which benefit both patients and the environment. Instead of being covered with asphalt shingles or metal panels, some roofs are covered with plants. These “living roofs” help with sound and provide a more appealing view for patients. Research shows that patients who view natural scenes heal more quickly and need less pain medication.
In addition to benefiting patients, rooftop gardens absorb rain run-off, improve air quality and offer thermal insulation. By moderating temperatures, buildings that boast “living roofs” stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
“While a traditional roof can heat up to 90 degrees above air temperature, living roofs usually don’t rise above air temperature in the summer,” Mian says. “If you looked at two buildings standing a block apart on a warm sunny day, the traditional roof could reach 160 degrees while the green roof wouldn’t get above 70 degrees. A living roof helps the whole neighborhood stay cooler. This moderating effect is especially noticeable with large structures, such as hospital buildings.”
Living roofs are just one example of the sustainable approach evident in the new building at St. Elizabeth Hospital. With these environmental considerations in place, hospital leaders are working toward recognition through the Leadership in Energy and Environment Design (LEED) program. As a result of its “green” design, the new building uses less energy and water than most hospital buildings its size – saving money and helping Ministry Health Care and its associates be good stewards of our natural resources.
Published July 2015