Nemours Children’s Hospital Awarded LEED Gold Green Building Certification

Tuesday, July 30th 2013

The only hospital in Central Florida with Gold Certification

By Yusila Ramirez

Photo Credit: Jeff Leimbach

Nemours Children’s Hospital has been awarded LEED® Gold Certification established by the U.S. Green Building Council and verified the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI). LEED is the nation’s preeminent program for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings. According to the U.S. Green Building Council, Nemours Children’s Hospital is one of only three children’s hospitals in the country that have achieved Gold certification.

The 630,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art facility opened its door to patients on October 22, 2012 in the Lake Nona Medical City. During the construction phase of the project, the design team implemented an aggressive green strategy that is also being carried out in the day-to-day operations of the hospital. By using less energy and water, LEED certified buildings save money for families, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to a healthier environment for patients, associates and the community.

“We are extremely proud to be recognized as one of the nation’s leaders in sustainability and green building,” said Roger Oxendale, CEO of Nemours Children’s Hospital. “Hospitals are round-the-clock operations and as a result, they consume a lot of energy. By achieving LEED certification, we can now spend less money on energy and more on our first priority, patient care.”

Nemours Children’s Hospital achieved LEED certification for energy use, lighting, water and material use as well as incorporating a variety of other sustainable strategies. The hospital’s green initiatives were recently recognized by the Florida Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects, which awarded Nemours Children’s Hospital the 2013 Award of Excellence for building an innovative yet sustainable, user-friendly campus.

“Our mission was to build a hospital in a garden that would help us deliver world class pediatric care and promote healing by connecting our patients and families to nature,” said Michael Cluff, staff architect at Nemours. “Minimizing the impact to the environment was also a large part of our goal and it is an honor to be recognized for being a part of the solution.”

LEED certification of Nemours Children’s Hospital was based on a number of green design and construction features that positively impact the project itself and the broader community. These features include:

  • Specially designed, exterior sunshades help block the sun, keeping the building cooler year-round and helping to reduce energy costs by 22 percent.
  • 90 percent of construction waste was recycled per national regulations.
  • One-acre Discovery Garden with nature trails, accessible to all patients and families. Nearly 40 acres on campus are dedicated to outdoor space.
  • Building materials such as concrete and asphalt can absorb higher temperature creating a heat island effect. To mitigate this effect, 20,000 square feet of rooftop gardens were designed thus reducing the heat load on the facility.
  • Florida native landscaping that does not require irrigation is installed throughout campus.
  • Reclaimed water from the retention pond in the Discovery Garden is used for landscape irrigation.
  • In an effort to protect indoor quality, the carpeting and paint contain low or no VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) and composite wood products, like plywood that uses adhesives containing no added urea formaldehyde resins are helping to keep air inside the hospital clean.
  • Rubber flooring, ceiling tiles and concrete structure used to build the hospital are all made with recycled content.
  • The bathrooms are specially equipped with low-flow faucets and dual-flush toilets reducing water usage by 32 percent.
  • Environmentally friendly cleaning service only uses green supplies to clean.
  • Free electric vehicle charging stations in the parking garage and ample bicycle parking areas throughout the campus promote alternative transportation options.

“The green building movement offers an unprecedented opportunity to respond to the most important challenges of our time, including global climate change, dependence on non-sustainable and expensive sources of energy and threats to human health,” said Rick Fedrizzi, President, CEO and Founding Chair, U.S. Green Building Council.”The work of innovative building projects such as Nemours Children’s Hospital is a fundamental driving force in the green building movement.”

U.S. Green Building Council

The Washington, D.C.-based U.S. Green Building Council is committed to a prosperous and sustainable future for our nation through cost-efficient and energy-saving buildings.

With a community comprising 80 local affiliates, more than 18,000 member companies and organizations, and more than 167,000 LEED Professional Credential holders, USGBC is the driving force of an industry that is projected to contribute $554 billion to the U.S. gross domestic product from 2009-2013. USGBC leads an unlikely diverse constituency of builders and environmentalists, corporations and nonprofit organizations, elected officials and concerned citizens, and teachers and students.

Buildings in the U.S. are responsible for 39 percent of C02 emissions, 40 percent of energy consumption, 13 percent water consumption and 15 percent of GDP per year, making green building a source of significant economic and environmental opportunity. Greater building efficiency can meet 85 percent of future U.S. demand for energy, and a national commitment to green building has the potential to generate 2.5 million American jobs.


The U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED green building certification system is the foremost program for the design, construction and operation of green buildings. More than 100,000 projects are currently participating in the LEED rating systems, comprising over 8 billion square feet of construction space in all 50 states and 114 countries.

USGBC was co-founded by current President and CEO Rick Fedrizzi, who spent 25 years as a Fortune 500 executive. Under his 15-year leadership, the organization has become the preeminent green building, membership, policy, standards, influential, education and research organization in the nation.

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