New Parkland Hospital Achieves LEED® Gold Certification

Already known as a gold standard in the design of public hospitals, the New Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas has now achieved LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. From the beginning, Parkland Health & Hospital System was committed to pursue sustainable design strategies, with a goal to achieve a minimum LEED Silver rating. Sustainable environments help support a nurturing and healing environment for patients, as well as contribute to the well-being of those who work in and visit the hospital. Parkland proved that ”going green” would not cost more to build, an important consideration since public funds were used to build the new facility.

Surpassing the original goal of Silver, the Gold rating was earned by working closely with the HDR+Corgan design team and the BARA (Balfour Beatty, Austin Commercial, Russell and Azteca) construction team to design and build the hospital as a highly sustainable facility, with the potential to earn the credits needed for LEED Gold.

According to HDR’s Mark Meaders, the lead sustainable designer on the project, “A huge factor in achieving LEED Gold stemmed from our committed and integrated team working side-by-side in a collocated space—within walking distance of the new hospital—to discuss and resolve any issues.”

One of the key design strategies involved siting the buildings between existing Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) light rail and bus transfer systems, making the complex readily accessible by public transportation from any location, including Dallas/Fort Worth Airport. “Putting the park back into Parkland” was another design priority. Vegetated space on the campus encompasses 425,000-square-feet, with drought-tolerant vegetation that reflects the Texas landscape. This, along with an efficient irrigation system, reduces irrigation use by 60 percent. The sustainably designed wellness garden and outdoor parks weave throughout the facility to foster pedestrian activity. All outdoor spaces reinforce the transparency felt throughout the campus. The healing garden offers a view to the hospital lobby, and the chapel garden provides a peaceful retreat for staff, patients and families.

Access to natural light is associated with shorter hospital stays; the design allows natural light to shine in all of the private patient rooms, waiting areas and corridors. Inside, lighting is adjusted using a low-voltage lighting control system to help ensure patients and staff are comfortable and safe. Other factors that helped the hospital earn LEED Gold include a significant, 34 percent savings in energy use. The building is oriented to efficiently manage and control solar heat gain. The facility will reduce indoor water use by 31 percent. Locally-sourced stone and glass building materials were used, with 83 percent of construction waster diverted from the landfill, helping to reduce the carbon footprint of the hospital.