Healthcare Design - October 2019 - 28

MARA BAUM

Title: Sustainable Design Leader, Health and Wellness; Principal
Firm: HOK
Location: San Francisco

S U S TA I N A B L E D E S I G N C H A L L E N G E : R E D U C I N G
B U I L D I N G M AT E R I A L S ' C A R B O N F O O T P R I N T

For many years, addressing energy in healthcare design has focused on reducing the energy required to operate buildings.
This approach is important, as there are clear health benefits
associated with lowering air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, both of which impact human health. Yet the energy efficiency of buildings can no longer be our only strategy when it
comes to reducing a building's carbon footprint. Building materials take a considerable amount of energy to manufacture and
ship to the project site. The greenhouse gas emissions resulting
from these processes are known as a material's "embodied" carbon emissions. Reducing the embodied carbon of building materials is essential to
reducing the overall environmental footprint of our buildings. Most design
teams, however, have only minimally focused on this challenge. Our industry has a huge opportunity to make relatively easy, yet impactful changes to
the way we design and build healthcare facilities.
WHY IT'S AN ISSUE

Immediate action is required to prevent the Earth from warming to
the point of putting our agriculture, water supply, health, and general
livelihoods at risk. We're already experiencing increases in extreme
weather events associated with a warming climate; these are likely to
worsen and increase in frequency. Scientists and other experts have
suggested that we may have only a few years to prevent the worst effects
of climate change. When we look at the emissions associated with the
life cycle of constructing and operating a healthcare building, reducing the embodied carbon emissions associated with the manufacturing of building materials has a direct impact on carbon now. Concrete,
steel, and aluminum production represent more than 21 percent of all
carbon emissions globally, and a significant portion of those materials are manufactured for the construction industry. Design teams can
make informed decisions related to building design, specifications, and
construction that go a long way to reducing these impacts. Better yet,
design to reduce embodied carbon can often also reduce construction
costs through materials savings.
THE SOLUTION

We should begin by asking ourselves and our teams if a new project
needs to be a new building. Could a building renovation work just as
well? In Los Angeles, the design-build team of HOK and Bernards recently started design on a project for Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Hospital that will transform a decommissioned inpatient building

28

OCTOBER 2019

HCDMAGAZINE.COM

into a "new" 500,000-square-foot outpatient
behavioral health center. We anticipate that
renovating that existing building will reduce
the project's embodied carbon by 50-75 percent as compared with new construction.
There are quite a few now- or soon-to-be
abandoned hospital buildings in California
that can't meet seismic standards for inpatient use but, like our project for MLK Community Hospital, could be reused for other
functions like outpatient centers and clinics.
When a new building is the best option-
which is frequently required to meet program,
seismic, site, or other healthcare criteria-
there are a range of solutions that can be used
to reduce the embodied carbon of building materials. For example, minimizing the amount of
steel and concrete required when possible and
placing a greater emphasis on carbon footprint
during product selection and specification are
ways healthcare facilities can make a difference. Sourcing U.S.-made steel also can significantly reduce emissions, as the U.S. typically
produces steel with higher recycled content
and a lower environmental impact than most
other nations that manufacture steel. Optimizing structural grids and using lighter weight
façade systems and less concrete (thereby using less rebar) are other potentially viable approaches to reducing steel use on a project.
When using concrete, design and construction teams can significantly reduce the material's carbon footprint by replacing part of the
cement with other pozzolanic materials, such as
fly ash or slag, that mitigate the very high-energy
intensity of cement production. Teams need to
be aware of high mercury content of some pozzolanic materials, though, and include specifications that limit this. Architects, engineers,
and contractors should collaborate to identify
optimum cement content to support sustainability, structural cost, and schedule goals. Environmental product declarations (EPDs) can
help teams make informed decisions about the
impact building materials have on the planet.
Steel and concrete are not the only materials
with a big carbon footprint; the building envelope and select interior products should also be
addressed. The relatively high carbon footprint
of these two materials, however, make them easy
targets for quick design changes, and a little extra effort can go a long way. 


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Healthcare Design - October 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Healthcare Design - October 2019

Healthcare Design - September 2019
Contents
EDITORIAL
SHOW TALK
DRAWING A CONNECTION
TAKE FIVE
DESIGN ACCELERATOR
FIRST LOOK
RISING UP
2019 HCD EXPO PREVIEW
STAFF SATISFACTION
PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT
THE CENTER
FACE TIME
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - Intro
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - Healthcare Design - September 2019
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - Cover2
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - 1
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - 2
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - Contents
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - 4
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - 5
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - 6
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - 7
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - 8
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - EDITORIAL
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - SHOW TALK
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - 11
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - 12
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - DRAWING A CONNECTION
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - 14
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - TAKE FIVE
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - DESIGN ACCELERATOR
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - 17
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - FIRST LOOK
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - 19
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - RISING UP
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - 21
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - 22
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - 23
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - 24
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - 25
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - 26
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - 27
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - 28
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - 29
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - 2019 HCD EXPO PREVIEW
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - 31
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - 32
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - 33
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - 34
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - 35
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - 36
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - STAFF SATISFACTION
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - 38
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - 39
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - 41
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - 42
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - 43
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - 44
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - 45
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - 46
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - 47
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - THE CENTER
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - 49
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - 50
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - 51
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - 52
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - 53
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - 54
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - 55
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - FACE TIME
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - Cover3
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - Cover4
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - HDC1
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - HDC2
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - HDC3
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - HDC4
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - HDC5
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - HDC6
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - HDC7
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - HDC8
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - HDC9
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - HDC10
Healthcare Design - October 2019 - HDC11
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