University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital is LEED Gold certified

What is LEED?

LEED stands for “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.” It represents forward thinking, innovative, and time-tested approaches to creating environmentally sustainable buildings that better our world and enhance human health and community.

  • LEED is an internationally recognized certification process based on a range of principles that reduce the environmental impact linked to the construction and operation of “green” buildings.
  • The aim is to produce a building that is environmentally responsible and uses resources efficiently. LEED uses a points-based system rewarding different levels of sustainability achieved. These levels include Platinum at the highest, followed by Gold, Silver, and Certified.
  • Sustainable features of University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital fall into the following LEED categories:
    • Sustainable SitesIn their words
    • Water Efficiency
    • Energy and Atmosphere
    • Materials and Resources
    • Indoor Environmental Quality
    • Innovation in Design
    • Regional Priority  

Sustainable Sites

Sustainable sites discourages development on previously undeveloped land; seeks to minimize a building’s impact on ecosystems and waterways; encourages regionally appropriate landscaping; rewards smart transportation choices; controls storm runoff; and promotes reduction or erosion, light pollution, heat island effect, and construction-related pollution.

  • University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital is constructed on previously developed land. This helps protect habitats of endangered species and existing wetlands.
  • During the demolition of the previous Parking Ramp 2, excavation of the site, and construction of the new building, the building’s contractors reduced airborne dust generation, soil erosion, and sedimentation into local waterways.
  • The site is covered with planted areas which help reduce water runoff and the heat island effect. A white PVC roof and light-colored site paving also reduce the ambient temperature in the summer.
  • Access to public transportation and bicycle racks reduce the effects of fossil fuel consumption and emissions from driving personal vehicles.
  • Convenient parking is provided which gives preference to low-emitting and fuel-efficient vehicles.

Water Efficiency

Water efficiency encourages smarter use of water. Water reduction is typically achieved through more efficient appliances, fixtures, and fittings inside and water-conscious landscaping outside.

  • Water conservation helps save on energy costs, especially for providing hot water as well as pumping water. Efficient water usage reduces University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital’s water supply costs, maintenance, and life-cycle costs.
  • Conservation measures in the building and surrounding community help prevent water shortages.
  • The building uses water-efficient plumbing fixtures such as dual flush toilets, aerated sensor faucets on sinks, low-flow shower heads, and low-flow urinals to reduce water usage by 20 to 30 percent less than a comparable building type.
  • The site has an efficient water irrigation system and native plants that require less water than other landscape material. These hardier plants also require less or no fertilizers and pesticides that in turn will reduce other environmental degradation.

Energy and Atmosphere

Energy and atmosphere encourages a wide variety of energy-wise strategies: energy-use monitoring; efficient design and construction; efficient appliances, systems, and lighting; the use of renewable and clean sources of energy generated on-site or off-site; and other innovative measures.

  • University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital performs far better than an average baseline building by comparison. This building is designed to function at a high-performance level and commissioned to ensure the systems function as designed.
  • Energy efficiency examples include: ample daylighting to reduce lighting needs and costs; well-sealed and insulated exterior walls and roofs; and insulated low-E exterior doors and windows to reduce heating and cooling costs; light-colored roofing to reduce heat gain and reduce cooling costs; state-of-the-art LED light fixtures to reduce electrical costs; and highly efficient HVAC (heating, ventilating, air conditioning) equipment to reduce energy costs.
  • Commissioning was done to ensure the building systems and their controls perform as specified. This leads to lower operating costs, improved indoor environmental quality, fewer maintenance issues, and increased occupant comfort and productivity.  

Materials and Resources

Materials and resources encourages the selection of sustainably grown, harvested, produced, and transported products and materials. It promotes waste reduction as well as reuse and recycling, and it particularly rewards the reduction of waste at a product’s source.

  • During the demolition of the previous Parking Ramp 2 on the future University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital site, care was taken to send nearly all the debris to be recycled in lieu of sending it to a landfill.
  • The building has a robust recycling program. Single-stream recycling and composting is available and dedicated space is included for the collection and storage of waste materials to be recycled.
  • The building includes materials and furniture items that are made of recycled content.
  • Using regional materials and labor reduces transportation fuel costs and keeps jobs and money in the local economy. The concrete that makes up most of the building’s structure and the adjacent underground parking ramp was manufactured by nearby companies from locally extracted materials.  

Indoor Environmental Quality

Indoor environmental quality promotes strategies that improve indoor air quality as well as those that provide increased thermal comfort and better lighting for occupants, and control of the interior environment systems by individuals necessary to maximize occupant comfort and productivity.

  • University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital requirements for indoor air quality by building code are already much greater than for a standard building. Children in general are more sensitive and susceptible to respiratory irritants that will aggravate asthma, especially children who are acutely ill. The building’s outdoor air ventilation system is designed to be at least 30 percent higher than the code minimum.
  • Smoking is prohibited everywhere on the University of Iowa Health Care campus, both inside and outside buildings.
  • Low-emitting materials are used as the standard for all building products that have been installed inside the building envelope. Low-emitting building products have low VOC’s (volatile organic compounds). This includes all adhesives, sealants, paints, coatings, and all composite wood products such as plywood.
  • Individual lighting controls are provided for 90 percent of all occupants. Fifty percent of all individual spaces have access to a thermostat, and shared spaces have access to the thermostat for that shared zone.

Innovation in Design

Innovation in design provides extra points for projects that use innovative technologies and strategies to improve a building’s performance well beyond what is required by other LEED credits, or to account for green building considerations that are not specifically addressed elsewhere in LEED. This category also rewards projects for including LEED Accredited Professionals on the team to ensure a holistic, integrated approach to the design and construction process.

  • University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital minimizes mercury contained in various building devices such as light bulbs and thermostats.
  • The building uses a green cleaning program as the standard operating procedure to reduce building occupant’s exposure to chemical, biological, and particulate contaminants.
  • One hundred percent of the parking is covered in the attached underground parking ramp with a mostly landscaped site above with light colored paving to create a cooling effect.
  • The building uses 70 percent green power.
  • An education program on the mission and significance of the LEED certification program and recycling features include a recycling-themed Zen coloring book and a comprehensive signage program explaining the benefits of this sustainable building and recycling guidance.

Regional Priority

Regional priority provides additional points as an incentive for the achievement of existing credits among the various other LEED categories. This category addresses geographically-specific environmental priorities that the U.S. Green Building Council local chapters have determined are of critical importance.

  • University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital is in a location of significant development density and features abundant community connectivity to numerous services that is easily walkable.
  • The site has convenient access to public transportation that enables connections throughout Iowa City and neighboring towns while reducing the need for individual automobiles and land dedicated to parking.
  • The project includes conveniently located and ample bicycle storage racks nearby as well as shower and changing rooms for bicyclists to promote alternative cleaner transportation and personal fitness.
  • Extensive and vigilant recycling efforts in construction waste management during the project enabled a significant amount of construction debris to be diverted away from landfills to help preserve valuable farm land and precious natural ecosystems.