CCT construction
By Makenzie McNeill

Sustainability to be a Major Focus for UNM Hospital’s Critical Care Tower

Renewable energy, carbon footprint, and eco-friendliness.

These are just a few pertinent topics that modern organizations must consider when embarking on a construction project.

The University of New Mexico Hospital is no different.

The hospital’s highly anticipated critical care tower (CCT) will be an advanced medical facility that not only saves lives, but also helps preserve the long-term welfare of the surrounding natural environment. 

“The design of the CCT does not just treat the symptoms, it helps alleviate the causes of environmental issues,” said Todd Tierney, region director of architecture and senior vice president of HDR, the architect working on the CCT.

“By providing a high-performance facility that reduces carbon emissions and other air-borne pollutants like Ozone and Particulate Matter 2.5, community health issues such as asthma, heart disease and stroke can be mitigated.”

Check Out New Pictures of CCT!

CCT construction
CCT construction
CCT construction
CCT construction
CCT construction

To gage the sustainability efforts of the CCT, UNM Hospital is working towards a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification.

LEED is a points-based system established by the United States Green Building Council. Organizations that meet specific and measurable sustainability accomplishments receive points that contribute to their overall LEED level, which include certified, silver, gold, and platinum.

The state of New Mexico legally mandates that all new state buildings meet the LEED silver standard. The CCT is aiming for gold, the second highest distinction.

LEED-certified buildings are proven to save money, improve efficiency, lower carbon emissions, and create healthier spaces for people to thrive.

There are several core concepts that will impact the LEED score of CCT.

Site development

The design of the CCT is focused on the “triple bottom line”, which means that social, environmental, and economic planning are all weighed together.

The “triple bottom line” integrates several important considerations, such as 50-year life cycle planning, the health of building occupants, sustainable design features, and community outreach planning.

Access to quality transit

With six bus stops located less than a half-mile away, the CCT will offer patients, visitors, and staff several options for public transportation.

Additionally, to promote a healthy lifestyle and help lower carbon emissions, parking will be available for staff and visitors who commute to the CCT by bicycle. 

There will be covered and secured bicycle parking in the new parking structure as well as short-term bicycle racks near the east entrance of the new CCT.

Sustainable density and land protection

The CCT sits on a site that is approximately six acres.  Rather than add to urban sprawl, the CCT will densify its existing space on the UNM Hospital campus.

Maximizing the utility of already used space preserves greenfields which can remain undisturbed and available for native flora and fauna.

Indoor air quality

Clean air free of pollutants will be an important feature of the CCT. To ensure this, all HVAC ducts installed in the facility were immediately sealed after fabrication and will remain protected until the CCT begins to operate.

“The design of the CCT takes a patient-first approach to healing and comfort which considers air quality as well as thermal, visual and acoustic comfort,” Tierney said. “The HVAC systems specified for the project aid in the achievement of these patient-centric outcomes as well as reductions in carbon emissions.”

Parking Structure

Eight green vehicle charging stations have been added to ground level of the new parking structure. Each station can charge two vehicles, or 16 total.

On the east end of the parking garage is the Central Utility Plant (CUP), which will deliver crucial utilities like emergency generator power and chilled and hot water to the CCT.

The CUP will contain the most energy-effective systems available, such as high-efficiency boilers, chillers, and generators to help lower carbon emissions and promote eco-friendliness.

Building A Sustainable Future

By implementing green and eco-friendly principles into its very design and construction, the CCT will help to create a healthier future for patients, staff, the community, and the natural environment.  

To learn more about the hospital expansion, visit here.

Categories: Community Engagement, Top Stories, UNM Hospital