Thursday, April 8,2010
Getting bigger, going green
St. John’s expansion will be environmentally friendly
As St. John’s Hospital is preparing to renovate its downtown campus, the 135-year-old Springfield institution is paying special attention to minimizing the project’s environmental footprint and maximizing local economic benefits.
On March 31, hospital officials announced a $162 million proposal to demolish certain old structures on the hospital’s campus and replace them with more modern surgery, pharmacy and patient areas.
Dave Olejniczak, chief operating officer at St. John’s, says the project will incorporate several cost-saving, environmentally friendly designs, such as paints, stains and adhesives with low toxin levels, energy-efficient light fixtures and natural lighting whenever possible.
“A little bit of it is an investment up front, but the majority of it is going to be a cost savings down the road, in particular when we focus on the glass elements around the facility itself,” he says. “With having the natural light, it’s going to reduce the amount of artificial light we have to generate.”
Recycling is a big part of the design as well. From the carpet made of recycled fibers to the reuse of scrap materials such as steel and wood, Olejniczak says the project will uphold the hospital’s “stewardship values.”
“Envitronmental stewardship, from a Fransiscan perspective, is ensuring that we’re using the resources that we’re currently given to the best of our ability, and to take what we have and reuse it or recycle it,” Olejniczak said.
To which I said:
1320 S. State Street
PO Box 5256
Springfield, IL 62705
I am writing to you regarding your brief article about St. John Hospital’s future building plans. It is laudable that they plan on making that building locally built and green. However I did not hear “state-of-the-art” speak included in that admittedly short article. First and foremost I hope the Hospital will perform a green tear down. We should be wasting as little as possible these days. Putting perfectly good materials in the landfill is no longer acceptable.
Second I hope they also perform a green rebuild so that everything in the new Hospital wing will be recycled. Finally I hope that the new wing will generate its own energy and be super efficient in its energy usage. If they use windows, please use windows that generate electricity. If they have a roof I hope that it has wind turbines on top and plenty of plants to absorb the water that lands there. I hope that they put in geothermal heating and cooling systems. This is after all about people’s health. If St. Johns becomes a beacon of how we can lead our lives without pollutants then they will be contributing to the over all health of our community.
As the article pointed out it is also about health care costs. Industry estimates are that if the medical community used energy efficiently they could cut our medical cost by 10 to 15%. That would be a huge benefit to us all.
948 E. Adams
Riverton, Il 62561
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