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Hospice House going green

Photo by Laura Williams

Photo by Laura Williams

ALBANY -- A much anticipated facility coming to the Albany area is planning on becoming environmentally friendly.

Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital is seeking Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) certification for the Willson Hospice House.

Some of the basic requirements of a LEED building include recycling construction waste, purchasing materials of recyclable content and buying local materials.

"It's a huge effort," said Project Manager Robert Ward. "It's a good, smart way of doing things."

The goal for the Willson Hospice House is to recycle 50 percent of construction waste.

Once the hospice opens in early summer 2010, the "green initiatives" will continue as part of being LEED certified. Some of those initiatives will include water efficient systems to ease the burden on local and state water supply, a recycling program and a thermal comfort survey.

"Our intent is to be less of a drain on resources," said Chris Smith, KLMK Group program manager. "I think you create a better facility for patients, family and staff."

The facility is energy efficient, down to its greenery by using plants natural to the area, therefore requiring less water use.

"Most everything around here is natural grass," Ward said.

The facility is already seeing a benefit to those even outside the hospice. Mulch has been set aside for the mile-and-a-half walking trails throughout the site, a large quantity of which was also sent to Procter & Gamble to use as biofuel.

"One of the goals was to be a community site," Smith said.

Partnerships will also be made throughout the community from organizations including the Boy Scouts, local garden clubs and area colleges, which will enhance the community outreach and educational aspect of the facility so that it can be of use to those not directly benefiting from it, officials say.

"It's an additional step we took to provide use of this site for the community," Smith said. "They will not only be able to utilize the site, but gain information."

Overall, the construction phase of the project is going very well.

"We're right on time," Ward said. "It's a challenging building; there are a lot of details."

There has already been a significant amount of time and money put forth via donations on the facility, which officials say speaks well to the anticipated community response.

"Obviously it's a very positive thing to the community because they (community members) have already given time and money (to the project)," Ward said.

To become LEED certified, there is a point system established by the U.S. Green Building Council.

Through the use of energy-efficient heating ventilation and cooling systems, Energy Star rated appliances, use of natural lighting and a "green" building structure, Phoebe projects to save 20-25 percent on normal annual energy costs.

The $13 million undertaking, which will serve as a health care facility for the terminally ill, includes a total of 18 rooms with a bay window effect. The facility is located 320 Foundation Lane, adjacent to the Darton College campus.