Cel­e­brat­ing a re­birth

Kiowa comes back LEED plat­inum cer­ti­fied

Modern Healthcare - - The Week In Healthcare - Andis Robeznieks

Four years ago last week, Kiowa County Me­mo­rial Hos­pi­tal—along with most of Greens­burg, Kan., its home­town— was de­stroyed by a tor­nado. On May 21, the hos­pi­tal will cel­e­brate not only its re­birth, but its des­ig­na­tion as just the sec­ond hos­pi­tal in the nation to achieve LEED plat­inum sta­tus un­der the U.S. Green Build­ing Coun­cil’s pro­gram rec­og­niz­ing en­vi­ron­men­tally sus­tain­able build­ing con­struc­tion and op­er­a­tion.

Only one other hos­pi­tal has achieved plat­inum sta­tus in the US­GBC’s LEED (Lead­er­ship in En­ergy & En­vi­ron­men­tal De­sign) pro­gram: Dell Chil­dren’s Med­i­cal Cen­ter of Cen­tral Texas, Austin. The 176-bed Se­ton Fam­ily of Hos­pi­tals fa­cil­ity opened in July 2007 and was cer­ti­fied plat­inum in March 2009.

Fif­teen-bed, crit­i­cal-ac­cess Kiowa County Me­mo­rial re­ceived its cer­ti­fi­ca­tion March 2 in an an­nounce­ment that didn’t garner much fan­fare. Mary Sweet, the hos­pi­tal’s ad­min­is­tra­tor, said they hope to make up for that May 21 when the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion is cel­e­brated in Hutchin­son, Kan., about half­way be­tween Greens­burg and the Wi­chita of­fice of their ar­chi­tects, Health Fa­cil­i­ties Group. “We’ll retell the process,” she said. “And then tell our­selves we did a good job.”

The US­GBC re­ports that more than 225 health­care fa­cil­i­ties have re­ceived LEED cer­tifi- cation of some sort. These build­ings were cer­ti­fied un­der a gen­eral LEED con­struc­tion pro­gram, and last month the or­ga­ni­za­tion in­tro­duced its new LEED for Health­care pro­gram which was specif­i­cally geared for in­pa­tient, out­pa­tient, li­censed long-term care and as­sist­edliv­ing fa­cil­i­ties as well as med­i­cal of­fices and med­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion and re­search cen­ters.

There are a pos­si­ble 69 points a fa­cil­ity can achieve in the LEED pro­gram, and Kiowa County scored a 55. To achieve ba­sic LEED cer­ti­fi­ca­tion re­quires a score of 26; sil­ver sta­tus re­quires at least a 33; fol­lowed by gold at 39; and 52 for plat­inum.

A 100-foot-tall wind tur­bine helped add points for re­new­able en­ergy and “green power” at Kiowa County, and Sweet hopes to in­stall a 140-foot-tall tur­bine in July. City coun­cil ap­proval is needed for that one, but as Greens­burg was rec­og­nized April 8 by the UN as a Global Green City, the coun­cil would seem likely to al­low it. There are five other LEED plat­inum build­ings in Greens­burg, in­clud­ing a Buck­lin Trac­tor and Im­ple­ment dealer, Cen­tera Bank and an arts cen­ter.

The hos­pi­tal failed to score the avail­able points for achiev­ing day­light light­ing and out­door views in 75% and 90% of spaces, but the over­all im­pact of ad­di­tional nat­u­ral in­door light has made a sig­nif­i­cant im­pact. “It’s cre­ated such a warm en­vi­ron­ment,” Sweet said. “I just think our hos­pi­tal just turned out to be very warm and invit­ing—so I’m more proud of that than the LEED cer­ti­fi­ca­tion.”

The May 4, 2007 tor­nado killed 13 peo­ple and left 68 of the old 25-bed hos­pi­tal’s 95 ful­land part-time staffers home­less. Sweet marked the an­niver­sary by speak­ing about the ex­pe­ri­ence at the Ru­ral Hos­pi­tal Con­fer­ence in Colorado Springs, Colo. The talk was made more poignant by the re­cent storms that struck the South­east. “Our hearts go out to the peo­ple in Alabama,” Sweet said. “They have a long road ahead of them.”

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