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Richard Beam
System Director
Construction & Sustainability Office of Supply Chain Management
Providence Health & Services

In planning, Providence Newberg (OR) Medical Center was the first "greenfield" building project its corporate parent had developed in about 35 years. It also achieved a more important first: It was the first Gold Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design hospital in the United States, prompting the boast of being the "greenest" hospital in the country.

Richard Beam: We chose Newberg [for a green project] because it was small enough so we wouldn't be overwhelmed by the additional program elements we would have to put into the project, with which we were unfamiliar. We did it because it demonstrates our core values—one of which is stewardship, and stewardship of the environment was something we could demonstrate through this project.

When we purchased the site, we made sure it was serviced by the local bus system, had bicycle parking and shower facilities, and preferred parking for fuel-efficient vehicles. We managed stormwater by creating bioswales in parking areas and a holding pond for runoff. We used cutoff lenses on outdoor light fixtures to limit light pollution. We also reduced the amount of landscape irrigation and reduced potable water usage by more than 50%. Some 75% of construction waste was recycled, and more than 25% of building material contained recycled content. Over 30% of building material was manufactured locally, which cuts down on carbon emissions. Further, we used a white thermoplastic roofing material, which reduces the "heat island" effect.

This does not have to be expensive. Many elements are actually cost-neutral. The premium for building it as a LEED Gold project was 1.2% of cost.

Philip Betbeze

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