MeritCare Breaks Ground on First Green Building Site
JLG Architects, MeritCare Mayville and Union Hospital broke ground on MeritCare's first green building, a clinic attached to Union Hospital to better prepare for the upcoming January 2010 merger of the two organizations. Multiple goals have been planned for this building, including a positive environmental consideration, reduction of energy consumption, utilizing recycled materials and products that can also be recycled at the end of their life span and promoting clean indoor air quality with the use of non-toxic, low or no VOC paints. Phillip Siek, MeritCare construction project coordinator, initially checked with JLG Architects, Fargo, to see what would be necessary to design and build a green project. Siek says, "They found out that we were close to be being certified. Some very simple changes were made – thicker insulation around the building and better temperature controls for the heating and cooling systems. Our windows on the south side have sunshades on the outside to block radiant heat in the summer and draw in heat in the winter. Many light fixtures have sensors. And the lawn will not have an underground water sprinkler system, to reduce water consumption. " MeritCare Mayville must work through the US Green Building Council to achieve LEED – Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design – certification, which is something we are ultimately working toward. This is an on-going process through construction and occupancy. Siek continues, "Getting certified makes us environmentally friendly and good citizens to the environment. It is also a huge savings in energy costs. It's nice to set an example." As a health system MeritCare has embraced sustainable building as a guideline for future building projects. It shows one more way MeritCare is committed to the communities we serve. With a plan to be completed in the fall of 2010, integrating the MeritCare Mayville clinic and Union Hospital will create more seamless care for patients, reduce duplication and allow for better use of resources. The green building design and use of materials serves as an additional bonus to what is seen by both organizations as an excellent merger for overall patient care.