MONROE (WIFR) -- Green County is now home to a certified green hospital. Monroe Clinic hospital has been awarded Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) silver certification.
Monroe Clinic’s commitment to building a green hospital started from the ground up. When developing building plans, ideas, and strategy; the organization ultimately chose certification instead of just going green. Steve Borowski, Monroe Clinic Facilities Director, found the use of green technologies to be a win-win situation.
"The more we researched LEED, the more we found that minor, relatively inexpensive design and construction changes would provide lasting benefits," said Borowski. “The lifetime savings on utilities and maintenance, while also providing a beautiful, restful environment for our patients made the LEED certification an easy decision.”
Healthcare facilities face unique challenge in applying green practices. Unlike office spaces, hospitals operate around the clock under much regulated conditions — eliminating many obvious conservation tactics. LEED certification for health care is still relatively new. Monroe Clinic is only the second hospital in Wisconsin to achieve LEED-silver certification.
For the hospital to be LEED certified, the building must qualify under six key areas: sustainable sites; water efficiency; energy and atmosphere; materials and resources; indoor environmental quality; innovation and design process. Some ways the organization achieved points towards certification include:
• Three garden roofs
• Drinking fountain water bottle fillers
• Landscaping of native plants
• Low-flow water fixtures
• Efficient boilers and chillers
• Energy-efficient lighting
• Eco-friendly elevators
• Local construction materials from within 500-miles of Monroe, Wis.
• 90 percent recycled construction waste
• Low-VOC, ceramic-based paints and flooring
• Recycled heat for de-icing helipad and sidewalks.
Monroe Clinic began green practices long before the hospital opened. In fact, in 2010 the housekeeping staff started using green cleaning products and practices to protect the environment and provide better indoor air quality. Monroe Clinic has also taken measures to reduce their medical waste footprint, which has saved money because medical waste disposal costs much more than regular waste.
When asked why LEED certification, Mike Sanders, President and CEO, commented on the organizations sponsor the Congregation of Sisters of Saint Agnes (CSA) and their commitment to mission and the environment at all ministries.
“It’s not just about the accountability and proof that LEED certification brings, but being stewards of the earth,” he said “It’s a source of pride for our community and the organization. We hope by adding these calming touches of natural lighting and views of nature, we heal not just the body but the mind and spirit, too.”