Kaiser Permanente Opens Environmentally Friendly Hospital in Modesto, Calif.
October 1, 2008
Kaiser Permanente’s new Modesto Medical Center opened to patients on Oct. 1, 2008, earning national recognition from green building experts as one of the "greenest" health care facilities in North America.
The 670,000-square-foot hospital features energy-reducing materials and advanced green hospital furnishings and fixtures that use fewer toxic chemicals. Other design features, notably liberal use of natural light, promote health. And the hospital opened fully equipped with the organization’s electronic health record, Kaiser Permanente HealthConnect™, eliminating the need for paper records.
Building green doesn’t mean spending more, though — Kaiser Permanente saved more than $500,000 by choosing green materials and techniques. The Modesto hospital is a model for the industry at a time when building green — and economically — is more crucial than ever.
Industry-leading green features include:
- Permeable pavement, which covers much of the parking area, allows rain to filter into the ground, recharging groundwater levels and filtering chemicals from runoff. This is the largest installation of permeable pavement west of the Mississippi.
- Solar panels on top of the attached medical clinic that shield the rooftop mechanical equipment from view. The panels generate 50 kilowatts of electricity — enough to power up to 20 homes. Parking lot lighting also is solar powered.
- Reflective or "cool" roofing that saves energy and money because the light color deflects heat from the sun.
- Paint and upholstery that is low in volatile organic compounds, which have been connected to numerous health problems including cancer.
- Inside air supply, which comes entirely from the outside, is kept fresher because nothing is recirculated, and because the facility uses materials that don’t give off harmful fumes.
- Natural light, incorporated into the hospital design, that reduces the need for artificial light, thus saving energy.
- Rubber flooring that replaces vinyl in much of the building. Rubber is preferable to vinyl because it does not leach toxins, nor does it need to be waxed or stripped with harsh chemicals. Rubber flooring also provides better traction (fewer slips and falls), generates less noise, and offers more cushioning underfoot for patients and staff