30 Most Environmentally Friendly Hospitals in the World

Many newly built or renovated hospitals and healthcare facilities around the globe don't just look after their patients, they look out for the environment as well. These modern, state-of-the-art facilities feature a whole host of eco-friendly initiatives, from paperless record keeping to energy-conserving boilers, green roofs and on-site power plants. Some of these innovative facilities have even won awards for their green credentials. Healthcare administration graduates working at these green-minded facilities can rest a little easier, safe in the knowledge that their employers are doing more than their share to help save the planet. Read on for the 30 most environmentally friendly hospitals in the world.

30. Rush University Medical Center: East Tower – Chicago, Illinois

The state-of-the-art East Tower building at Chicago's Rush University Medical Center was, at the time of its opening in early 2012, the biggest new healthcare complex worldwide to receive LEED Gold certification. The 14-floor structure with a construction price tag of $654 million had environmental considerations at its core from the beginning of the design process. The building's unique shape, created by international architects Perkins+Will, is designed to maximize the amount of sunlight it receives. Materials used in its construction were eco-friendly and recycling is prioritized. The building also boasts several green roofs, which help to stem the flow of storm water into Chicago's gutters. According to the center's president and COO Peter Butler, "From the outset… we made a commitment to sustainability because in the long run it is good for our patients, our employees and the entire community."

29. Great Ormond Street Hospital: Morgan Stanley Clinical Building – London, U.K.

Boasting an extensive range of specialist care and more than 220,000 annual patient visits, London's Great Ormond Street Hospital is one of the world's top children's medical facilities. It is currently in the throes of a $572 million redevelopment to replace facilities that date back to the 1930s. As part of the project, the hospital's new Morgan Stanley Clinical Building was opened in June 2012 – one of two attached buildings that will constitute the Mittal Children's Medical Centre. Designed by London architects Llewelyn Davies (formerly Llewelyn Davies Yeang), it incorporates a range of green features. These include a ‘reversible' under-floor heating system that can heat or cool the hospital and a generator that, together with waste heat recovery systems, will help offset an estimated 20,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions a year.

28. Johnston Memorial Hospital – Abingdon, Virginia

The new Johnston Memorial Hospital in Abingdon, Virginia opened in July 2010 and, thanks to its many eco-friendly features, it was certified LEED Gold in October 2011. The $176.5 million project saw over three quarters of construction waste being diverted to recycling, while green building materials – including low-emission paint and FSC-certified wood – were also widely used. Water-saving fixtures inside the hospital help reduce usage by up to 40 percent in comparison with more conventional plumbing systems. Energy-efficient chillers, boilers and insulation units, in addition to motion-sensing lights, contribute to power savings of up to 17 percent. Architectural firm Earl Swensson designed the hospital in association with the Phoenix Design Group. Both practices are based in Nashville.

27. Bronson Methodist Hospital – Kalamazoo, Michigan

By the 1990s, Bronson Methodist Hospital's central campus in Kalamazoo was due for a serious design overhaul. As a result, its main building, which was originally built in 1905, underwent an extensive $181-million redevelopment at the hands of national architects Shepley Bulfinch Richardson and Abbott. The new hospital, which was completed in 2000, was named among Michigan's 101 Best and Brightest Sustainable Companies in 2013, due in part to its use of recycled materials and a highly efficient chiller plant that supplies chilled water for air conditioning. The facility also actively aims to source food from sustainable or nearby vendors. "We have led the way on developing solutions that improve patient care while reducing costs and preserving the environment," said Bronson Healthcare's Mike Way. The hospital has garnered several honors for its environmental focus, among them Practice Greenhealth's Environmental Leadership Circle Award, which it has won for 11 consecutive years.

26. Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island: South Pavilion – Providence, Rhode Island

The South Pavilion building of the Women & Infants Hospital in Providence received its LEED Gold certification in February 2010. The five-story structure was designed by the Boston branch of architects Anshen + Allen (now part of Stantec) and it includes a host of environmentally friendly features. Low-flow plumbing fixtures help to conserve water, while a subterranean filtration system stores rainwater from storms and releases it at a measured pace into the ground, minimizing the pressure on the facility's drainage infrastructure. The South Pavilion is also oriented to make full use of available sunlight and high-efficiency glazing coupled with a reflective roof help to cut down on energy used.

25. Boulder Community Foothills Hospital – Boulder, Colorado

Colorado's Boulder Community Foothills Hospital (BCFH) is another facility that made environmental considerations central to its design from the outset. The 60-bed, three-floor hospital, which was built at a cost of $45.6 million, opened in September 2003. When it earned LEED certification, it became the first healthcare facility in the nation to do so. Among BCFH's green initiatives are compact fluorescent lighting, occupancy sensors and a high-efficiency power station. The roof is also painted white to reflect heat and to minimize the need for air-conditioning during the hottest months of the year. "The hospital is bigger than us," says Kai Abelkis, environmental coordinator for Boulder Community Hospital. "Children will be born in this hospital, in a place that is demonstrating that we can tread lightly on this planet; we can do things better. That's the real value of what we have accomplished."

24. Children's Healthcare of Atlanta – Atlanta, Georgia

Located on the site of the former Hughes Spalding Pavilion, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta is one of the biggest providers of specialist medical care for children in the U.S. After its completion in 2010, it became the first facility of its kind in Georgia to earn LEED Gold. Acknowledging the award, president and CEO Donna Hyland commented, "This honor affirms that the facility was not only revitalized for the patients we currently serve, but as a sustainable facility, it will continue to enhance the lives of the future children of our community." The Atlanta branch of HKS, Inc. worked with Georgia-based Duckett Design Group to create a $43 million building with eco-conscious principles at its core. Storm water is collected in a subterranean system to irrigate the landscaping outside and help conserve water, while storage for bikes and special parking allotted to low-emission vehicles promote greener forms of transportation.

23. Anne Arundel Medical Center: Hospital Pavilion South – Annapolis, Maryland

The Annapolis-based Anne Arundel Medical Center system opened its Hospital Pavilion South in April 2011 and it is the first acute-care facility in the state to receive LEED certification. The new building attained a Gold rating for a host of green initiatives, which began with its construction process. Recycled scrap steel accounts for 87 percent of the total steel used and nearly 93 percent of the 1,280 tons of construction waste generated was recycled. Since the building's completion, a ‘green team' has helped to cut waste incineration rates to 16 percent and increase recycling from one percent to just under a quarter of total waste. As Anne Arundel Medical Center president and CEO Victoria Bayless points out, "By taking whatever steps we can to improve the health of our environment, we also help protect the health of our patients, staff and community."

22. Walter Reed National Military Medical Center – Bethesda, Maryland

The Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda is the result of the merger of the National Naval Medical Center and the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, which took place between 2008 and 2011. The development, which included new building work as well as renovations to existing structures, was awarded Project of the Year in the U.S. Green Building Council National Capital Region Chapter's New Construction category in 2011. Impressively, it has also received LEED Gold certification. Advanced green technology at the facility, which is the work of global firm HKS Architects, includes energy-efficient, centrifugal water-cooled chillers. An innovative ventilation system – which transmits moisture and heat to the hospital's dry, cool airstream – also enables visitors and staff to enjoy some much needed fresh air.

21. University of Colorado Health: Medical Center of the Rockies – Loveland, Colorado

Colorado's state-of-the-art Medical Center of the Rockies, which is part of the University of Colorado Health, was designed by U.S. architects Heery International and opened in February 2007. From the outset, the 136-bed facility was designed to have a low environmental impact, with 50 percent of the materials used being sourced locally and around three-quarters of construction waste being diverted to recycling. Inside the building, natural light provides more than half of the clinical labs' illumination requirements, while energy and water usage are monitored in real time by an electronic system that can intervene in the event of any problems. As Part of the Poudre Valley Health System and Regional West Medical Center, the Medical Center of the Rockies cost approximately $150 million to build. It was awarded LEED Gold certification in June 2009.

20. Sentara RMH Medical Center – Harrisonburg, Virginia

When it achieved LEED Gold certification in September 2010, the Sentara RMH Medical Center in Harrisonburg became the first inpatient healthcare complex in the state to attain the prestigious designation. According to the facility's director of facilities planning and development Dennis Coffman, the decision to pursue LEED accreditation was an easy one: "We made this choice not for recognition, but because it's the right thing to do for our community – now and for future generations." The hospital, designed by Nashville-based practice Earl Swensson, opened in June 2010. It features a range of green measures – from water-efficient plumbing fixtures to high-efficiency power systems – and includes boilers that can run on methane gas from the county waste site. The boilers alone are projected to afford the center reserves of some $600,000.

19. Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre – Toronto, Canada

In 1948, Toronto's Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre opened as a veterans' hospital on parkland that had been donated to the city as a farm. Since then, Sunnybrook has been named among Canada's greenest employers for five years running and now maintains three campuses. A conscious approach to the environment is key to the hospital, which implements many strategies with this in mind. Food waste from its cafeteria is turned into compost, while shuttle bus transport to and from the site has been fitted with an eco-friendly dual-fuel system. The teaching hospital linked to the University of Toronto also runs a yearly showcase called Earth Matters, which gives its staff and the public a chance to take in eco-lifestyle exhibitions. Sunnybrook's energy streamlining at its Bayview campus alone is projected to save it some $2.6 million and reduce its output of carbon dioxide by 10,000 tons annually.

18. University Hospital of South Manchester: Wythenshawe Hospital – Manchester, U.K.

Wythenshawe Hospital, which started out as a maternity facility that was completed in 1965, is arguably one of the greenest of its kind in Britain, thanks to initiatives like its cycle to work program and its biomass boiler. Along with Withington Community Hospital, it is part of England's University Hospital of South Manchester NHS Foundation Trust – an organization that takes saving the planet very seriously. As the trust's director of estates and facilities Paul Featherstone points out, "Every ton of carbon saved has a direct benefit to the local community and environment." The trust received an Ashden Award in 2012 for its energy efficiency program that saw carbon dioxide emissions reduced by 28 percent since its implementation in 2007. It has also been awarded the Carbon Trust Standard for its work towards reducing its carbon footprint and implements a host of green initiatives, from supporting local business traders to a carpooling scheme.

17. Dana-Farber Cancer Institute: Yawkey Center for Cancer Care – Boston, Massachusetts

Boston's Yawkey Center for Cancer Care – part of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute – is a cutting-edge clinical facility that not only takes into account the welfare of its patients, but its impact on the environment as well. The complex was the brainchild of North American architects ZGF, in association with Boston-based MDS/Miller Dyer Spears. Completed in January 2011, its construction cost was $325 million. The building achieved LEED Gold designation in October 2011. Its green features range from water-saving plumbing fixtures to shades that automatically ascend or descend according to the available levels of natural light. As Dana-Farber's director of architecture Sherri Rullen points out, "Being LEED-certified makes for a healthier building, which in turn protects the health of our patients and staff."

16. St. Elizabeth Hospital: Heart, Lung & Vascular Center – Appleton, Wisconsin

LEED Gold has also been awarded to the Heart, Lung & Vascular Center at St. Elizabeth Hospital in Appleton, Wisconsin, which is part of the Affinity Health System. The center, which serves around 33,000 patients each year, was designed by national architecture and engineering firm HGA. Opened in August 2009, the center boasts a range of environmentally friendly features – from a green roof to water-saving fixtures that have helped reduce water use by almost a third. Energy-efficient interior fans and lighting lower power consumption, while the use of soundproofing materials and a natural color scheme inside the hospital create a peaceful environment for patients. Affinity Health System's Gary Kusnierz explains the key role that eco-friendliness plays throughout the system's facilities, saying, "Since 2005, all Affinity construction projects look for innovative opportunities to preserve and protect our environment. Incorporating sustainable design directly aligns with Affinity's mission and values."

15. Helen DeVos Children's Hospital – Grand Rapids, Michigan

With over 200 pediatric physicians in a range of specialized disciplines and programs, the Helen DeVos Children's Hospital in Grand Rapids is positioned at the forefront of healthcare for children in the U.S. The $286 million hospital was fashioned by global design, construction and engineering firm the URS Corporation and international architectural practice Jonathan Bailey Associates. It opened in January 2011 and was awarded LEED Gold in April 2012. An impressive 94 percent of building waste and debris – around 16,000 tons – was recycled and construction materials were sourced regionally. The facade also features custom-built glass, which reduces solar heat gain but still allows a large amount of natural light into patient rooms. Hospital president and M.D. Bob Connors has said of the measures, "Conserving environmental resources while creating the best healing environment for patients and their families was an important goal for this project."

14. Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital – Novena, Singapore

Singapore's Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital is a state-of-the-art healthcare facility that straddles the line between hospital and hotel, thanks to a luxury design by global architects HOK. The 312-room facility was completed in April 2012 at a cost of $250 million. It has incorporated a raft of environmentally friendly features that led to it being awarded the Singapore Building and Construction Authority's Green Mark Platinum Award. Sustainable elements include carefully managed, high-efficiency water systems that afford savings of around 30 percent when measured against standard buildings and energy-efficient, occupant-sensing lighting systems. The building also features a green roof, which helps to maintain a constant temperature, while prime positioning of its facades produces a cooler environment for patients.

13. Martha's Vineyard Hospital – Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts

The Martha's Vineyard Hospital building in Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts opened its doors in June 2010 following an almost three-year construction project, and was awarded LEED Gold certification a year later. The new facility houses all clinical services for the hospital and was designed by Tennessee-based architecture practice Thomas, Miller & Partners. Green features abound in the new building, from a ‘healing garden' and around 200 solar panels on the roof, to low-flow fixtures and dual-flush toilets that help to reduce water consumption in excess of 34 percent. The hospital also provides special parking amenities for low-emission vehicles and those that are part of carpooling schemes, as well as cycle racks to promote more environmentally friendly forms of transportation.

12. UF Health Shands Cancer Hospital – Gainesville, Florida

Construction of the Shands Cancer Hospital at the University of Florida in Gainesville was completed in October 2009. The 192-bed complex, designed by nationwide firm Flad Architects, was the first in the state to attain LEED Gold certification. Environmental considerations were central to the $364 million construction project from the beginning, with 96 percent of demolition waste from the buildings that previously occupied the site being recycled and about 50 percent of the site having been returned to natural vegetation. Inside the hospital, low VOC-emitting finishing materials were used to enhance air quality, while high-efficiency windows and solar shading help to save energy. Perhaps the main contribution to energy efficiency, though, comes from the hospital's dedicated on-site heat and power plant, which offers estimated savings of 46 percent over standard fossil fuel generators.

11. Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital – Hollywood, Florida

LEED Gold certification was given to the new Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital building in Hollywood, Florida just over a year after its opening in June 2011. Atlanta-based architects Stanley Beaman & Sears designed the four-story, 204-bed facility. It incorporates eco-friendly measures throughout, from the use of low volatile organic compound materials for the interior finishes to energy-efficient systems and a green education initiative for patients and staff. Acknowledging the hospital's achievement, Rick Fedrizzi, CEO and president of the U.S. Green Building Council – which established the LEED certification system – commented, "The Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital project efficiently uses our natural resources and makes an immediate, positive impact on our planet, which will tremendously benefit further generations to come."

10. St. Mary's Hospital – Sechelt, Canada

St. Mary's Hospital, located in Sechelt, British Columbia, is not only purported to be Canada's greenest hospital, but it may well be one of the greenest healthcare facilities in North America. Toronto-based Farrow Partnership Architects joined forces with the Vancouver branch of Perkins+Will to enlarge and renovate the hospital, which was opened in its newly expanded form in March 2013 with boosted green credentials. Carbon-neutral heating and cooling for St. Mary's comes by way of 125 boreholes and radiant slabs, while a 19-kilowatt solar array helps to meet electricity requirements. Green principles have been so fully integrated into the hospital's design that it is set to foster energy savings of 40 percent – not just in comparison to standard hospital designs, but compared to other facilities that already hold revered LEED Gold status.

9. Muskogee Community Hospital – Muskogee, Oklahoma

Muskogee Community Hospital in Muskogee, Oklahoma opened in 2009 and was among the first hospitals in the world to be awarded the LEED Gold designation. It is also the first healthcare facility in the U.S. to have been designed with the specific goal of attaining the EPA's Energy Star, awarded for top tier energy performance. Tulsa's Bates/LZW Architects designed the $38 million hospital, which incorporates an expansive closed-loop geothermal system with vertical piping spanning more than 35 miles in 280 wells and meets all of the facility's heating and cooling requirements. The geothermal system affords an annual reduction in energy costs of around $50,000 and, as the hospital's president Mark Roberts says, "Minimizing energy costs in the design means we can spend more money on our mission – offering world-class medical service to our community."

8. North Shore University Hospital: Katz Women's Hospital – Manhasset, New York

The Katz Women's Hospital Post Partum Unit at North Shore University is another LEED Platinum hospital facility. The fourth-floor unit, completed in 2011, was part of a massive $300 million North Shore-LIJ Health System expansion project that aimed for an ecologically sound design. The facility – which accommodates 73 beds – cleverly exploits natural light and solar shade to keep the unit warm in winter yet cool in summer. It also features environmentally friendly paints, sustainable air quality monitoring and a complete ‘green cleaning program.' In addition, over three-quarters of the waste created during the building of the new unit was recycled. "Hospitals are power-intensive and use heating and cooling year-round to maintain a complex array of patient care services, so there is an incentive to be energy efficient," explained North Shore-LIJ Health System's director of sustainable development Neil Rosen.

7. West Kendall Baptist Hospital – Miami, Florida

One of the most notable attributes of Miami's West Kendall Baptist Hospital is its ability to endure a category five hurricane, with the structure capable of remaining totally self-sufficient for at least five days after such an event. In designing the structure, which is part of Baptist Health South Florida, Coral Gables' MGE Architects created an extensively green building. Eco-friendly construction materials, including Forest Stewardship Council-certified wood and low emitting paint, were used and sourced locally where possible and debris was recycled as well. Dual-flush toilets and other water-saving features have helped to reduce water usage by 20 percent when measured against equivalent facilities, while high-efficiency electrical equipment including chillers and air-handling units conserve energy. The hospital, which was built at a cost of $121 million, was completed in April 2011 and was awarded Gold LEED certification in October of that year.

6. Legacy Salmon Creek Medical Center – Vancouver, Washington

Built with energy efficiency in mind, Legacy Health's Legacy Salmon Creek Medical Center in Vancouver, Washington was unveiled in August 2005. Following a 2011 study, it was concluded that the facility could influence the future of hospital design. The survey, which was carried out by the University of Washington and architecture and engineering firm SOLARC, monitored energy consumption at Legacy Salmon Creek over a one-month period. "This kind of detailed data is simply not available to experts in hospital design, construction and operations nationally," said Heather Burpee, research assistant professor at the University of Washington. She added that developers of highly efficient hospitals had very much looked forward to the results of the informative study. The hospital itself – designed by the Portland, Oregon branch of ZGF – cost $118 million to build and was selected for the study because of its impressive energy efficiency. This distinction recognizes a host of green measures implemented in the center's design – ranging from room design that maximizes natural light to highly efficient boilers and glazing.

5. NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital: Vivian and Seymour Milstein Family Heart Center – New York, New York

New York's Vivian and Seymour Milstein Family Heart Center, which is part of the NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, opened to patients in February 2010. The center was awarded LEED Gold certification by the U.S. Green Building Council just months later. Local firms daSILVA Architects and Pei Cobb Freed & Partners teamed up to create the six-floor building in Manhattan's Washington Heights district, which includes an atrium that permits expansive views of the Hudson River. Amongst a slew of eco-friendly initiatives, the facility features an occupant-sensing lighting system, computer-controlled ventilation and heating, and a cutting-edge motorized system to minimize glare from the sun. NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital has also received the EPA Energy Star award, with the agency naming it in its Partner of the Year Awards for Sustained Excellence in Energy Management in 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2011.

4. Kiowa County Memorial Hospital – Greensburg, Kansas

Kiowa County Memorial Hospital was damaged beyond repair when a tornado tore through Greensburg, Kansas in 2007. However, hospital designers went on to create a much greener, LEED Platinum-certified facility in its place. The 50,000-square-foot building, which was completed in March 2010, even has 50-kilowatt turbines on site. The facility is completely electric, while just under a third of its interior finishes are made with reclaimed materials. A great emphasis was placed on utilizing natural light, which has slashed artificial lighting use, allowing three-quarters of the hospital's indoor areas to be lit naturally. Meanwhile, efficient lighting controls and office equipment and a "heat recovery system" boost the hospital's green credentials further. The facility's water usage takes environmental concerns into account too: storm water is collected and put into play by the hospital's low-flush toilets and "bioswale filtration" processes cut water waste in half.

3. Providence Newberg Medical Center – Newberg, Oregon

Providence Newberg Medical Center in Newberg, Oregon has the prestigious honor of being the first hospital in the U.S. to receive coveted LEED Gold certification. The $70.6 million building was designed by Pacific Northwestern architectural firm Mahlum and opened to the public in June 2006. It can also lay claim to being a pioneer in another environmentally friendly area, as it became the first healthcare facility nationwide to meet all of its power requirements with energy from renewable sources. Its use of geothermal, wind and low-impact hydroelectric power affords it a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions equivalent to the amount produced by 273 cars. It also features an innovative ventilation system which – rather than recycling air inside the hospital – continually brings in fresh air from outside, offering significant air quality benefits for those using the facility.

2. Dell Children's Medical Center of Central Texas – Austin, Texas

The transformation of the Robert M. Mueller Municipal Airport in Austin into a mixed-use community was a huge undertaking, and it was one that resulted – among other projects – in the creation of one of America's most advanced green hospitals, the Dell Children's Medical Center of Central Texas. The $200 million facility, which opened in 2007, was designed by now-defunct Columbus architectural firm Karlsberger Cos to simultaneously treat children and be kind on the environment. The innovative complex, which is part of the Seton Healthcare Family, is a trailblazer in its sector, as it's the first hospital to be awarded coveted LEED Platinum status. The facility's many green features include environmentally friendly interior paints and adhesives, a rainwater collection irrigation system, efficient toilets and lighting and a white roof that reflects light from the sun to keep the facility cool naturally. The hospital even captures plant steam and reuses it as chilled water.

1. Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

The vibrant and whimsical-looking Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, which opened in May 2009, boasts a plethora of environmentally friendly elements. These include excellent public transportation, benefits for those sharing vehicles, ‘water efficient landscaping,' better parking for carpoolers and recycled water and materials. Not one but two LEED certifications have been awarded to the $185 million hospital – specifically, to a couple of state-of-the-art buildings on the 10-acre campus. The University of Pittsburgh-affiliated hospital is also paperless, with all patient notes, test results and other data entered and stored electronically. Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh has the distinction of being among the first LEED-honored pediatric hospitals in the country. Its vice president of operations Eric Hess said of the eco-designation, "It means we've achieved our goal of designing and building a world-class pediatric hospital that also is an extremely healthy, transformative and environmentally sustainable environment."