Newswise — CHICAGO- One of Chicago’s most distinctive new buildings has now been certified as among the greenest.

Rush University Medical Center’s innovative new hospital building, the Tower, which opened in January, has earned LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council and verified by the Green Building Certification Institute. It is the largest new construction healthcare project in the world to be LEED Gold certified. The new hospital building, located at 1620 W. Harrison Street, is the only full-service green hospital in Chicago. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is the nation’s preeminent program for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings.

Rush earned high marks for green design, construction and operation. Rush achieved LEED Gold certification for energy use, lighting, water and material use as well as incorporating a variety of other sustainable strategies. Hundreds of energy savings ideas have been incorporated into the planning, construction and design. Below are some examples:

Water Conservation• Green roofs (partially covered with soil and plants) slow the flow of rainwater into city storm sewers and reduce heat from the sun.• Planting indigenous landscaping and building multiple green roofs that slow or limit the release of rainwater into city storm sewers.• Capturing of air handler condensation, which is used to water gardens and supply makeup water for our air conditioning chiller equipment, saving an estimated 1.3 million gallons of water a year.• Using environmentally preferable products in housekeeping. Water savings from a change to microfiber mops in Rush existing facilities alone will be 500,000 gallons a year.• Water-saving faucets and toilets will use 30 percent less water than conventional plumbing. Public bathrooms will use dual flush toilets.Energy Conservation • Energy-efficient heating, cooling and lighting systems were installed.• Parts of roofs not covered with vegetation are white, which reflects sunlight rather than absorbing it, requiring less energy to cool buildings.• The hospital’s butterfly shape and other design features allow a large amount of natural light into the building, reducing the need for electric lighting.• Energy-efficient lighting fixtures and bulbs are being used throughout the hospital.• Rush has a comprehensive campus recycling programRecycled Materials• About 20 percent recycled steel used in construction• More than 20 percent of wallboard made from recycled materials• More than 20 percent of interior wall coverings made from recycled materials• Recycled concrete• More than 70 percent of wooden doors made with materials harvested from certified sustainable forests.“From the outset of our facilities planning, we made a commitment to sustainability because in the long run it is good for our patients, our employees and the entire community,” said Peter Butler, president and chief operating officer of Rush. We wanted to help achieve better outcomes by being innovative, efficient and prepared for the future by creating sustainable structures that would accommodate new models of care.”

“Buildings are a prime example of how human systems integrate with natural systems,” said Rick Fedrizzi, President, CEO & Founding Chair, U.S. Green Building Council. “The Rush project efficiently uses our natural resources and makes an immediate, positive impact on our planet, which will tremendously benefit future generations to come.”

The $654 million, 14-story 830,000 square foot hospital building has 304 private adult and critical care beds on the top five floors. Rush has a total 664 beds in operation in its new and existing facilities.

Perkins+Will designed the new hospital. The project, managed by Power/Jacobs Joint Venture, remained on time and on budget, despite the challenging economic environment.

###Rush New Hospital, the Tower, and the Rush TransformationThe Tower is the major component of Rush’s 10-year, $1 billion campus redevelopment project called the Rush Transformation, which combines new construction, renovations of select campus buildings and investments in leading edge technology, including a comprehensive electronic health information system. It is the largest capital project in Rush’s 175-year history. Rush is a not-for-profit academic medical center comprising Rush University Medical Center, Rush University, Rush Oak Park Hospital and Rush Health.

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U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC)The Washington, D.C.-based U.S. Green Building Council is committed to a prosperous and sustainable future for our nation through cost-efficient and energy-saving green buildings. With a community comprising 80 local affiliates, more than 18,000 member companies and organizations, and more than 167,000 LEED Professional Credential holders, USGBC is the driving force of an industry that is projected to contribute $554 billion to the U.S. gross domestic product from 2009-2013. USGBC leads an unlikely diverse constituency of builders and environmentalists, corporations and nonprofit organizations, elected officials and concerned citizens, and teachers and students. Buildings in the United States are responsible for 39% of CO2 emissions, 40% of energy consumption, 13% water consumption and 15% of GDP per year, making green building a source of significant economic and environmental opportunity. Greater building efficiency can meet 85% of future U.S. demand for energy, and a national commitment to green building has the potential to generate 2.5 million American jobs.

LEEDThe U.S. Green Building Council's LEED green building certification system is the foremost program for the design, construction and operation of green buildings. Over 100,000 projects are currently participating in the LEED rating systems, comprising over 8 billion square feet of construction space in all 50 states and 114 countries. By using less energy, LEED-certified buildings save money for families, businesses and taxpayers; reduce greenhouse gas emissions; and contribute to a healthier environment for residents, workers and the larger community.