Austin Energy Awards Dell Children’s South Tower Highest Green Rating


Austin Energy today presented the prestigious 5-Star Green Building Rating distinction to the W.H. and Elaine McCarty South Tower project at the Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas for excellence in following sustainable building practices in design and construction. Photos of the ceremony and hospital features are here.


The rating is the highest presented by Austin Energy Green Building on a 1 to 5 Star rating system and is only the fifth commercial project in Austin to be recognized with the 5-Star rating. Dell Children’s was the first commercial project to receive the distinction.

“This latest 5-Star rating continues the commitment by Ascension Seton to promote and protect the well-being of our children and the environment by constructing medical facilities that take into account the long-term health of our people and the planet,” said Debbie Kimberly, Austin Energy Vice President of Distributed Energy Services.

“This facility also receives electricity, chilled water for air conditioning and steam for hot water from the nearby Mueller Energy Center and is an important example of how energy and health are closely related,” Kimberly said. “How we design and construct buildings and how we consume energy matters to our health and matters to how much we spend on both health care and energy.

“I am honored to present the 5-Star rating for this project on behalf of Austin Energy Green Building,” Kimberly said.

In addition to Austin Energy’s 5-Star rating, the South Tower project also has earned the first-ever Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design for Healthcare (LEED-HC) Platinum designation from the U.S. Green Building Council. Dell Children’s also became the world’s first LEED Platinum Certified hospital in 2008.


The 72-patient bed tower addition to the hospital is a model for sustainability. Its environmentally sensitive design conserves water and electricity and also enhances the clinical environment by improving air quality and making natural sunlight more readily available.

The building achieves 86 percent energy savings and 347 kilowatts of peak demand reduction following green building principles for energy efficiency. The project also includes a 50-kilowatt solar photovoltaic system and a 300 MMbtu solar thermal system. All lighting is high-efficiency and low-mercury. Light emitting diode (LED) lamps are used in 75 percent of the light fixtures. The project also achieves 30 percent water savings totaling 360,469 gallons in savings annually by incorporating water conservation features.

The project also utilized:

• Recycled materials representing 28.7 percent of the materials’ value
• More than 50 percent of materials sourced in Texas, helping to support the local economy and reducing the impact of shipping, and
• 81 percent of new wood products sourced from sustainable forests certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.

The Dell Children’s location also offers excellent access to public transportation and services and the hospital’s staff, patients and visitors have access to a dedicated outdoor garden space where they can rest and enjoy a natural space.

Inclusion of all of these sustainable features and others add up to the highest rating possible from Austin Energy Green Building and the highest recognition that is well-deserved.