'Green' Childcare Center and Garage

Northwestern Medicine
News March 04, 2013

Northwestern Memorial building with an employee parking garage The Northwestern Memorial building that houses our onsite childcare center and an employee parking garage has achieved the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver Certification. The designation recognizes our commitment to designing and building facilities that are environmentally friendly and sustainable.

Since Prentice Women’s Hospital received LEED Silver Certification, buildings both downtown and at Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital have been designed to incorporate “green” elements such as rooftop gardens, energy efficient heating and cooling systems and high efficiency windows and glazing systems.

“Incorporating these elements has proven beneficial to the environment, our communities and to the children of the center,” says James J. Mladucky, AIA, ACHA, CCS, director of Facility Planning and Construction. “The U.S. Green Building Council's core purpose is to transform the way buildings and communities are designed, built and operated. We are honored to receive recognition for this project.”

The childcare center and parking garage facility at 441 E. Ontario St., uses a geothermal heating system, which is a sustainable way of heating and cooling a building. The system removes heat from re-circulated groundwater several hundred feet below the building and uses it for heating the building in winter and cooling it in the summer.

Additional “green” design elements include:

  • Passive ventilation, which uses shingled glass to hide and protect 1,100 cars while allowing the air to circulate in and out of the garage and let the building breathe. This provides better air quality, removes contaminates from the air and saves energy.
  • Green roof, which includes areas covered with vegetation. This absorbs rainwater for reuse, provides insulation, creates a habitat for wildlife, lowers urban air temperatures and provides a learning experience for the children in the childcare center to cultivate their own plants.
  • Displacement ventilation, which allows air to drift down the walls then rise to the ceiling where it is exhausted from the room. The constant convection of germs out of the room greatly improves the quality and cleanliness of the air. 

There are four LEED Certification levels, including Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum. Certification levels are achieved based on how many strategies are incorporated into a project that increase performance, reduce waste and improve quality of life.

In 2011, Northwestern Memorial’s Gross Lab achieved LEED Silver Certification and the Northwestern Grayslake Cancer and Surgery Centers achieved LEED Certified level. In 2012, the Galter 9, 10 and 13 inpatient bed project achieved LEED Silver Certification.

Current construction projects, including the Outpatient Care Pavilion on the downtown campus, a medical office building in Grayslake and the new Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital, all include elements designed to achieve LEED Certification.