Our Green Clinic
Preterm is LEED® Silver certified under the LEED-EB program (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for Existing Buildings) This means that we meet the U.S. Green Building Council’s high level of environmental sustainability. We’re the first healthcare clinic in the country to receive this distinction. See highlights below.
Becoming a green medical facility is good for our patients and staff because it means cleaner air, which helps prevent infections and environment-related illnesses like asthma. It's good for the organization because a sustainable, energy-efficient building costs less to operate, which helps us keep our services affordable and high quality. It's good for our community and the entire planet because a green building conserves resources and produces less waste and pollution.
Our waiting room recycling centers, made by APOC from "upcycled" wood reclaimed from a nearby house demolition, include information about how recycling saves money & decreases pollution and where to recycle in local communities.
Upgrading Preterm’s obsolete heating and cooling system with more efficient units and sophisticated controls will reduce our energy consumption by about 20%, improve air quality and comfort, and save about $10,000 annually. We’ll take advantage of our large expanse of south and east facing windows by installing solar awnings to generate electrical energy and provide shade in the summer to reduce our cooling needs. Daylight sensors and a combined reflective/vegetative roof will further reduce our energy needs.
With nearly 20,000 patients and visitors coming into our facility each year, we currently use more than half a million gallons of water annually. Installing dual flush toilets, sensor and aerated faucets, and a hot water recirculation system will reduce our water consumption by about 25%.
Yearly rainfall produces about 500,000 gallons of run-off from our roof and parking lot that carry pollutants into the storm drains. We’ll intercept and filter nearly 50% of this stormwater by installing a roof garden irrigated with captured rainwater and converting impervious pavement into a combination of garden beds, pervious paving, and bioretention basins. The gardens will feature native, low-maintenance plants and medicinal herbs.
Materials & Resources
An essential component of becoming a green facility is to reduce the amount of materials we use, especially toxic materials, and the amount of waste we produce. We’ll develop wide-ranging policies for sustainable operations, including purchasing, cleaning, maintenance, landscaping, integrated pest management, and recycling. We are converting from a paper-based system of medical charting to electronic software that will eliminate about 10,000 pages of medical forms each month.
Promoting a green culture is an ongoing process that is as important to us as creating a green facility. We educate and motivate staff to support sustainable principles and practices and work with our vendors to encourage them to consider more sustainable products and packaging. We use signage and take home materials to educate visitors about our green components and encourage reducing, reusing, and recycling. We share our vision and experience at workshops and conferences to encourage other small nonprofit organizations and businesses in our neighborhood and networks to adopt sustainable building operations.