Clinic & Specialty Center Earns LEED Gold Certification

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The Clinic & Specialty Center was recently awarded LEED certification at the Gold level! LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. The LEED rating system was developed by the U.S. Green Building Council and is the foremost program for buildings, homes, and communities that are designed, constructed, maintained, and operated for improved environmental and human health performance.

The Clinic & Specialty Center is the second building by Hennepin Healthcare to achieve LEED certification. Whittier Clinic, one of our neighborhood clinics, also achieved LEED certification and was the first healthcare facility in Minneapolis to be awarded certification under LEED for New Construction at any level.

“Studies have confirmed that the environment can have an impact on human health,” said Bill Howden, director of facilities and master campus planning. “Following sustainable building practices is yet another way we can achieve our vision of transforming the health of the community, while at the same time doing what’s right for the environment.”

LEED certification is difficult for healthcare facilities to achieve because of their specific design needs. The Gold certification means that 60-79 points were earned on the certification checklist. It is the second highest certification level in the LEED program.

In designing, building, and operating the Clinic & Specialty Center, a variety of solutions were implemented, aimed at achieving high performance in sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection, and indoor environmental quality.

Here are just some of the great features that helped earn the Gold.

  1. Land was redeveloped that was defined as a brownfield.
    The site has a dynamic history with past uses including a filling/service station, dry cleaning business, tin shop, machine shop, printing business, and light manufacturing business. The site was likely contaminated with hazardous substances and petroleum products. While building the Clinic & Specialty Center, steps were taken to remediate the environmental contamination.
  2. Outdoor open space was maximized.
    Did you know that there is a “pocket park” on the site of the Clinic & Specialty Center? How about an outdoor patio next to the Dunn Brothers’ Eatery? Open spaces like these encourage social interaction and interaction with the environment and they also contributed to receiving the Gold certification.
  3. Connecting with the community with easy access to public transit.
    The Clinic & Specialty Center’s prime location in the East Town neighborhood of downtown Minneapolis means that the campus is within walking distance to a multitude of services such as banks, churches, senior care facilities, restaurants, parks, and more. Not only that, easy access to public transit is available with nearby bus and light rail options.
  4. The use of rainwater falling on the site was improved.
    Under the “pocket park” there is an underground retention and infiltration system installed to reduce rainwater run-off and recharge the aquifers. In addition, native and adapted plant species were selected to use less irrigation. As a result, the landscaping around the building is not only pleasant to look at, it’s also good for the environment!
  5. In addition to the outdoor features, steps were taken to create a healthy indoor environment.
    Low-emitting materials were used to reduce chemicals in the air, flushed out the building before occupancy to remove pollutants, and walk-off mats are placed at frequently used entrances to reduce debris tracked into the building. These steps helped ensure a more comfortable and safe environment for staff, patients, and visitors inside the building.

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