MBA Sustainability students take behind the scenes tour of UPMC’s green hospital under construction

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By Amanda Bastyr

MBA, Sustainability Candidate 2012

MBA Sustainability students from Duquesne University visited UPMC East in Monroeville, Pennsylvania, on Wednesday, October 19, for a tour of UPMC’s newest hospital in progress. Designed to put patients at the center of care and services, UPMC East boasts the latest in medical technology and environmentally efficient construction. The 156-bed hospital facility, which will use 100% recycling of the former building, is slated to open in summer of 2012.

Tim Spence, principal and healthcare studio lead of BBH Design, an architectural firm, and Joseph T. Badalich, UPMC East project director, hosted a lecture and led a tour of the unfinished building and grounds, pointing out features that will meet enable the new construction to achieve LEED certification while focusing on patient care, including an elaborate storm water management plan that includes rain gardens and water holding areas to prevent the storm water run-off problems that have plagued the area in the past. As student Michael Holovak noted, “Considerable thought went into each process.”

Spence advised that the architects’ early drawings had the building facing east, but the final construction features longer walls on the north and south to maximize exposure to the sun and minimize costs for heating and artificial lighting based on optimization modeling. The design team built half a dozen different prototypes for patient rooms to evaluate caregiver access and patient comfort from limited space. The cabinets and fixtures throughout the hospital are made from recycled and locally sourced materials. Zach Stern, another MBA candidate, added, “The most interesting part of the tour was that they had all those prototypes and they took into account the orientation of the building.”

The MBA Sustainability students are studying the short and long-term costs and benefits of building and renovating to different levels of LEED certification. The site tour by UPMC’s design, construction and medical management team offered insight to multiple stakeholder perspectives, including patient benefits, physician preferences, operating standards and expected return on investment.

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