Phoebe Sumter is LEED Certified - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Phoebe Sumter is LEED Certified

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AMERICUS, GA (WALB) -

Ten months after it opened, Phoebe Sumter Hospital officially earns a designation no other hospital campus has ever gotten.

All of the new buildings constructed after the old hospital was destroyed by a tornado in 2007 are now LEED certified because of the energy efficient way they were designed and build - a certification that's been a long time coming.

Marcus Johnson, the Public Relations Director for Phoebe Sumter said, "it started form the onset of the whole creative process of this whole campus. We saw that we had an opportunity to do something different."

The LEED certification process is a tough one.

Gene Dunwoody of the U.S. Green Building Council said, "it's submitted to the United States Green Building Council and they're based in Washington D.C.  And they have staff or independent entities come in and review the work to make sure that it was done according to the guidelines set forth.  It's a really difficult process."

And meeting the standards is a cause for celebration, which they did today at the hospital.

"It was very important to us because we were very proud to be Georgia's first LEED Silver Certified campus," said Johnson.

All of the buildings here meet the LEED Silver standard, which makes the facility one of a kind.

Robert Yauger is with the architectural firm that designed the buildings.  He said, "we believe that this is in fact the first medical campus that's LEED certified in North America."

There's something else unique that you can see from the ground - if you know where to look.

The hospital features a garden on the roof.  Which helps to cut down on heating and cooling costs and gives a nice view to the patients that are sitting in the rooms a few feet away.

Back on the ground, you notice other unique features.  From the parking spaces for Fuel Efficient cars to the landscaping that keeps some of the property in its natural state.  Even the way that the grass is kept green is unique.  A hill next to the hospital covers a cistern that collects rainfall which is in turn used to run the irrigation system.  All of these things might cost a little more in the short term.

But according to Gene Dunwoody, in the long run: "it saves energy, which saves the hospital money."

Which is why builders and architects are seeing more buildings being built to a greener standard.

Yauger said, "it's really a national trend, we're advocates of that trend and it's our small way of contributing."

With the goal of saving on energy costs realized, Phoebe Sumter can now focus on saving patients.

There aren't many LEED Certified buildings in South Georgia.

One of the few is the visitors center at Stephen Foster State Park in Fargo.

You can see a full list of what it takes to earn the certification when you click here.

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