VA San Juan Administration Building Earns LEED® Gold Certification

(September 5, 2013) - The new Veteran Affairs (VA) San Juan Medical Center Administration Building has been certified LEED® Gold by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC).  Completed in late 2012, the new Administration Building will house administrative departments that were previously located in the adjacent Building One Hospital, allowing much needed improvements for that building to proceed.      
Considered one of the VA's flagship healthcare facilities in the Caribbean Healthcare System, HDR provided updates to the facility master plan and the functional space planning to meet the objectives of the Capital Asset Realignment Enhanced Services (CARES) program, in conjunction with a 10-year growth plan for the entire facility. The new 170,571-square-foot, six-story Administration Building is one component of a large, multi-phase project that includes the Renovation and Seismic corrections to Building One, this new Administration Building, and the Renovation/Second Floor Addition to the existing Outpatient Clinic.

As HDR project manager Richard Zambito explains, "The Administration Building is the result of multiple studies and conceptual design options developed to meet the objectives of a seismic correction to the existing hospital (Building One) and the existing Bed Tower that is located in the center of the Diagnostic Treatment (D & T) component. After analyzing the options, it was determined  that retrofitting the existing Bed Tower to meet current seismic codes would be cost-prohibitive and would still fall short of meeting the current operational needs of the Medical Center. This led to a new master plan that would demolish the Bed Tower and add a new Administration Building, a new South Bed Tower (not designed by HDR), and additional clinic space to house many of the functions that needed to be relocated from the bed tower."
Significant sustainable benchmarks on the new Administration Building were met and the team's commitment to the sustainable project goals was essential in achieving its LEED Gold rating.  A total of nine sustainable site credits were earned for brownfield redevelopment, community connectivity and heat island effect (roof and non-roof).
In addition, both water usage and energy usage is reduced by 21 percent and 70 percent of energy will be offset by purchasing green power renewable energy certificates.

Other sustainable features include:

  • Construction IAQ Management during construction and before occupancy
  • Potable water use reduced by 21 percent from the baseline design
  • 66 percent of construction waste recycled
  • 20 percent of construction materials contain recycled content
  • 29 percent of construction materials are regionally sourced
  • 97 percent of the wood from FSC-certified forests
  • Low-emitting materials used throughout the interior
  • Green cleaning and sustainable purchasing policy

As Jaime Quinones, PhD, senior resident engineer (SRE) at the VA Office of Construction and Management (CFM) points out: "The project was originally slated for LEED Silver certification; however we were able to exceed the VA's expectations through a diligent collaboration put forth by the VA SRE's Office and the architecture/engineering and sustainability teams."  
HDR's portfolio now includes 24 LEED Gold certified projects.