North Tower: Sustainability
North Tower at The Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital is not only the largest expansion undertaken by Cone Health, but is its most environmentally friendly project to date.
North Tower is designed to be a Silver Level LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified building under the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) regulations. North Tower will be one of only a handful of LEED certified healthcare facilities in the state.
North Tower represents the Health System's commitment to the community's healthcare and its stewardship of natural resources. The focus on sustainable design, building and engineering strategies will pay off in several ways.
"Designing the North Tower for LEED-certification is not only the socially responsible thing to do, it's a smart business decision. The Health System will own this building long-term," says Tim Rice, Chief Executive Officer, Cone Health. "Harnessing passive energy and allowing natural light into patient rooms and public spaces creates a more comfortable and beautiful setting for patients and medical staff, and it will optimize operating costs for the life of the building."
Taking advantage of natural light and passive energy, as well as obtaining much of the equipment and supplies from vendors located within 500 miles of Greensboro during construction will reduce the carbon footprint of the project. In addition, North Tower will be the first healthcare facility in the state and one of only three hospitals in the United States to heat and cool patient rooms with "chilled beams" - an advancement in heating and air conditioning systems that uses water to reduce energy use.
A new energy plant is also being built as part of the project, allowing Cone Health to retire older, less efficient boilers and generators. A solar hot water system will heat water for patient rooms and showers as well as other functions throughout the new building.
The USGBC has a detailed set of requirements for LEED certification of new construction and major renovations. Based on a 100-point rating system, LEED certification is granted to buildings that acquire 40 to 49 points. To achieve a Silver Level LEED Certification, North Tower must receive 50 to 59 points.
The North Tower project team must meet regulations regarding construction activity pollution prevention, water use reduction, storage and collection of recyclables and fundamental commissioning of building energy systems. North Tower plans to achieve Silver Level Certification in the categories of sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality, innovation in design and regional priority.
The architects, engineers and general contractors for North Tower have impressive experience in LEED-certified projects. Perkins+Will, the architectural firm for North Tower, has developed tools such as the Precautionary List and the 2030 Estimating + Evaluation Tool to advance their design expertise and to expand the industry's knowledge of sustainable design best practices, along with designing a multitude of LEED certified buildings.
Affiliated Engineers Inc., the engineering firm for North Tower, is currently installing a chilled beam system (much like the one to be used in the North Tower) in the Genomic Science Building at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The system is expected to lower the energy use by 20 percent.
Brasfield & Gorrie, the general contracting firm for North Tower, has completed 18 LEED registered and certified projects.