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OHSU'S First South Waterfront Building On Track To Be One Of World's Greenest

OHSU Center for Health & Healing at the South Waterfront likely to be the largest building ever to achieve platinum status under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standard

Oregon Health & Science University's first building in the South Waterfront is on track to be one of the most environmentally friendly buildings in the nation and perhaps the greenest large-scale health and bioscience building in the world.

"Conservation and care with our environment is a natural outgrowth of the university's overarching mission to improve Oregonians' lives," said Peter Kohler, M.D., OHSU president. "OHSU has a long history of innovation in health care. Now we've applied that innovation to sustainable building in the Center for Health & Healing."

The OHSU Center for Health & Healing will likely be Oregon's first building to receive the top rating from the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program. LEED is recognized around the world as the authority on green construction.

Just 14 buildings in the world have earned the platinum LEED rating. The Center for Health & Healing appears to be the first large-scale building with energy-intensive health care and bioscience research activities that will reach the platinum standard. The 16-story Center for Health & Healing will house 400,000 square feet of physician practices, outpatient surgery, a wellness center, research labs and educational space.

"Cost is often seen as a barrier to sustainable building," said David Crawford, chief financial officer for the OHSU Medical Group. "The Center for Health & Healing is a super green building delivered within a conventional building budget." The OHSU Medical Group, which is comprised of OHSU School of Medicine faculty physicians, carries out the university's clinical mission and is OHSU's partner in developing the building.

The building's green design and engineering is innovative enough to have prompted the project's engineering firm to publish a guide for others hoping to achieve a top-rated green building on a conventional budget.

Significant energy and water savings have been integrated into a design that emphasizes the health and comfort of patients, visitors and employees. In contrast to conventional building designs that seek to seal nature out and then rely heavily on mechanical assistance, this building's design and engineering team have harvested natural resources.

For example, rainwater that falls on the building is reused in toilets and landscaping, and daylight is fully leveraged for lighting. The sun's energy is captured both through a  "Trombe wall" solar collector and photovoltaic cells located on south facade sunscreens.

The building's innovative energy-saving features include a range of passive and active systems such as the first large-scale on-site micro-turbine plant in Oregon, which will generate about 35 percent of the building's electricity; natural ventilation; displacement ventilation; radiant cooling; and the first use of chilled beams to replace air-conditioning in a large building in the United States.

Eco-roofs on terraces, water efficient fixtures and appliances and the use of sustainable and regional materials in construction round out the building's environmentally-friendly features.

Some of the more remarkable benefits of such an innovative building include:
* 61 percent more energy efficiency than required by Oregon code and LEED standards.
* 56 percent less potable water use than a comparable conventional building.
* 100 percent on-site sewage treatment, reducing by 15,000 gallons each day the amount of water that reaches the city's combined sewer system. The system will flush about 1 percent of the solids that would normally be sent into the city sewer system from a conventional building.
The $145 million Center for Health & Healing anchors the university's presence in the South Waterfront Central District. Eight of its floors are devoted to physician practices, surgery and imaging across a wide range of specialties and programs, including: dermatology, family medicine, internal medicine, spine, neurology, neurosurgery, cardiology, oncology, surgical oncology, digestive health, ENT (ear, nose and throat), plastic surgery, physical therapy, ophthalmology, urology and fertility.

The building also represents a tremendous commitment to research that leads to new knowledge and better treatments as well as commercializable intellectual property. Four floors - almost 100,000 square feet - are devoted to research, including cancer and cardiology research, OHSU's General Clinical Research Center and biomedical engineering laboratories.

March, a comprehensive health and wellness center that will include a full gymnasium, a four-lane lap pool, a therapy pool, cardio and weight training areas, multipurpose studios and a day spa, will occupy two floors. The ground floor will house retail space, including a pharmacy, optical shop and cafe. A three-story underground parking garage will provide 500 new parking spaces for patients.

OHSU's expansion into the South Waterfront has spurred the transformation of an underused area in the heart of the city into a vibrant neighborhood and will lead to the creation of 5,000 new jobs. Planned investment in South Waterfront Central District alone is about $2 billion. Visit for more information about OHSU's growth on Marquam Hill and in the South Waterfront.
The Center for Health & Healing's design and development team includes: OHSU, the OHSU Medical Group, Gerding/Edlen Development, GBD Architects, Hoffman Construction Co., Interface Engineering, Inc., KPFF Consulting Engineers, OTAK, Walker Macy and Brightworks Northwest.
A copy of "Engineering a Sustainable World" is available at   

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