McCulloch's gauntlet: Other hospitals should follow Kaiser's LEED

Elaine Aye, of U.S. Green Building Services gives Kaiser's Andy McCulloch the company's LEED Gold Certification plaque.

Elaine Aye of U.S. Green Building Services gives Kaiser's Andy McCulloch the company's LEED Gold Certification plaque. 

Kaiser Permanente’s formal announcement Wednesday that its Westside Medical Center would achieve a lofty green building status came with several metrics of proof.

For instance:,

  • The facility uses 6.5 million fewer gallons over the course of a year than a traditional health facility. That, says Kaiser President Andy McCulloch, is enough to fill 10 Olympic-sized pools.
  • It will also use 27 percent less energy overall.
  • Kaiser plans to test a new system to see whether it can capture and recycle anesthetic gases.
  • It used materials free of dioxins, lead, cadmium and mercury throughout the facility.
  • Its parking garage is lit by solar panels purchased from its Hillsboro neighbor SolarWorld.
  • The garage’s LED lighting will save some 300,000 annual kilowatt hours, enough power to provide electricity to 27 Oregon homes each year.

“It was an amazing opportunity for us to create a state-of-the-art facility,” said McCulloch. “We’d like to see our colleagues locally move their buildings to the next level.”

McCulloch’s company plans to do just that at Gateway facility in Northeast Portland that Kaiser’s converting into a health office. Kaiser hopes to achieve the same Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design “Gold” status it landed at Westside with the Gateway spot, which will sit in a 30,000-square-foot converted Circuit City store.

The $360 million Westside facility is set to open Aug. 6.

McCulloch believes the hospital’s green tinges hint at the way facilities will in the new health care era.

“It exemplifies the hospital of the future where we’ll have to more with less,” he said. “The building reflects our commitment to a sustainable platform and minimizing our footprint. The care will be delivered in a compassionate way but also very efficiently. We’re students of those industries outside of health care that have been able to pioneer and lead with models of sustainability.”

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