Rady Children’s Hospital’s new Acute Care Pavilion is California’s first children’s hospital in California to achieve LEED certification by combining sustainability and evidence-based medicine into its design. The hospital’s architects, Stantec, drew upon research that identifies specific design strategies known to speed healing, enhance patient well-being, reduce staff stress, and minimize incidences of patient falls, medical errors, and infections. Given all the upsides related to patient care and recovery, we’re surprised it has taken so long for the medical industry to catch-on. Hopefully the Rady Children’s Hospital will serve as a model for future healthcare institutions, extending well beyond its San Diego home.
Hospitals are known for consuming a lot of electricity in order to power ventilation systems and a variety of medical equipment that often have to be left on 24/7. In order to limit the hospital’s electrical drain from the grid, an onsite cogeneration plant recovers the heat from energy production in order to provide heating and hot water to the entire building. The building has been made smarter with the instillation of carbon dioxide monitors in high-occupancy areas that automatically adjust ventilation rates depending on the number of occupants in any one room. Access to natural light and views in patient rooms and community areas are designed to help speed the healing process. Extensive art and color was used throughout the building to reduce the institutional feeling in high-stress areas including the surgery floor. In addition to the low-water landscaping, whimsical elements were placed throughout the grounds, offering a positive distraction for patients and their families in the midst of treatment.