Downtown teaching hospital receives top marks for environmental stewardship
Dell Ascension Seton Medical Center at The University of Texas has attained Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) for Healthcare Gold certification, a prestigious global green rating which identifies healthy, highly efficient and cost-saving health care buildings.
From its calming views of Waller Creek to its innovative water control systems, the academic medical center nestled in the heart of downtown Austin showcases an ideal combination of aesthetic design, cutting edge technology and dedication to a sustainable future.
“When the Daughters of Charity founded Ascension Seton in 1902, they tasked us to be stewards of God’s creation,” said Craig Cordola, President and Chief Executive Officer of Ascension Texas. “So we are challenged to find and implement practical solutions to minimize our impact on earth and the communities we serve. Caring for our environment is part of our daily work.”
A history of commitment to the planet
Dell Seton’s LEED status continues Seton’s greater commitment to our community’s environmental sustainability. In 2007, Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas was designated the first ever LEED for Healthcare Platinum hospital. Becker’s Hospital Review named Dell Children’s one of the 50 “Greenest Hospitals in America” in 2015.
Independent research commissioned by Dell Children’s showed that compared to Seton’s non-LEED facilities, the LEED platinum hospital’s workforce had higher rates of employee engagement, health and well-being; and fewer cases of fatigue, injury and illness.
“We took these objective results as proof points to guide the construction of Dell Ascension Seton,” Cordola said. “The new building creates an exemplary environment for patient healing, associate well-being and the education of future health care practitioners.”
Seton’s commitment to green building aligns with that of Dell Medical School. Throughout the design and construction, Ascension Seton collaborated with the University’s sustainability consultant to achieve a unified vision of environmental stewardship for the downtown health district. Both the Health Learning Building, located directly across the street from Dell Ascension Seton, and the Health Transformation Building also earned LEED Gold certification.
What makes Dell Ascension Seton so green?
Dell Ascension Seton is a pedestrian- and bike-friendly campus with numerous green features, including:
- Urban location with access to public transportation
- Bicycle racks and showers to encourage staff and visitors to use bicycles
- Storm water management systems, including innovative vegetated bioswales, to control water quality
- Transplantation of heritage oak trees from the original construction site
- Reclaimed wood from construction site integrated into hospital interiors, including the hospital chapel and information desk
- Incorporation of historic Waller Creek as a central feature surrounding the building
- Heat island mitigation through reflective roof surfaces and more than 50% of parking under cover
- Exterior lighting fixtures designed to minimize light pollution
- Interior courtyards with verdant areas accessible to patients, associates and visitors
- Water efficient plumbing fixtures to reduce domestic potable water use
- Landscape designed with all native and non-invasive adapted plants, reducing overall water use by more than 50%