In Orlando, Nemours Children’s Hospital achieves LEED Gold

A jobsite recycling station when construction was underway at this Nemours hospital

Achieving LEED is challenging for healthcare facilities, as 24/7 operations and medical requirements make energy savings harder to get. Yet our $252 million Nemours Children’s Hospital project in Orlando recently attained LEED Gold. Our local team’s green culture and a unique Styrofoam recycling machine helped reach this goal.

This project’s statistics are impressive for a hospital: Compared to an average hospital, Nemours uses 22 percent less energy and 31 percent less water than an average hospital, and 85 percent of construction waste was recycled. A thick facade designed to resist 150 m.p.h. hurricane winds – and increasing the building’s thermal performance – and a heat recovery system helped attain Gold.

But more than such design elements, our Skanska team’s mindset was key in building this healthy, green facility that we completed in July 2012. Our team held a series of workshops for superintendents and other field supervisors about what we as a construction manager need to watch for on the jobsite regarding LEED. The message stuck.

“If there were any adhesives or paints that smelled funny, they’d take a picture and send it to me to review,” said Erin Joseph, USA Building assistant project manager. “It was an amazing team effort.”

Along with that, a portion of the weekly meeting with subcontractor foremen was dedicated to LEED. In these sessions, our partners were reminded that if they’re bringing any adhesives, sealants, wood or the like on site, they need to comply with LEED requirements. “It was a reminder – sometimes the subcontractors wouldn’t be thinking about LEED until it was mentioned at the meetings,” Joseph said.

Another green innovation was the use of a Styrofoam recycling machine. Skanska bought a machine that at a relatively low temperate melts 33 cubic feet of Styrofoam into a small block. That block was taken to a specialized facility where it was crushed and melted at higher temperature to be recycled. About 18,000 cubic feet – or 36 dumpsters – of Styrofoam was recycled, both from construction materials and owner-installed furnishings. Those savings paid for the cost of the machine and saved us money beyond that, Joseph said.

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