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Innovative construction earns Mercy West Lakes' recognition as Iowa's first LEED Certified hospital

April 8, 2010

Mercy West LakesMercy Medical Center – West Lakes has been named the first Iowa hospital built to LEED® Certified specifications and recognized as a LEED facility by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).

Mercy West Lakes was conceived and designed to maximize energy efficiency and minimize operating impact on the environment. The 239,000-square-foot seven-story building incorporates evidence-based design and energy saving technologies to deliver efficient health care from an environmental and work process perspective.  LEED or “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design” certification is a national program which sets extensive standards for design, construction and operations of buildings. Certification means these aspects of a building have been reviewed and have met these rigorous standards.

“With each new LEED-certified building, we get one step closer to USGBC’s vision of a sustainable built environment within a generation,” said Rick Fedrizzi, President, CEO & Founding Chair, U.S. Green Building Council. “As the newest member of the LEED family of green buildings, Mercy Medical Center – West Lakes is an important addition to the growing strength of the green building movement.”

 “We are extremely pleased that Mercy West Lakes has earned LEED certification,” said Dan Aten, Mercy West Lakes administrator.  “This building will be here for 100 years and from day one we wanted to control our energy consumption and respect the environment.”

Mercy West Lakes is able to handle Iowa’s coldest winters efficiently by using three sizes of energy- efficient boilers. Operating engineers choose the right boiler(s) to fit heating needs. To keep the facility cool during an Iowa summer, a special white reflective rooftop helps keep the heat out. This material helps in the battle against global warming by reflecting the sun’s energy back into space instead of trapping it inside buildings.

“We should see a fairly quick return on this investment.” said Aten. “We expect to save $25,000 per year on our cooling and heating energy bills, as compared to more traditional equipment and materials.”    

Amenities such as increased use of natural light, which clinical studies show promotes healing, also helps lower energy costs. Large windows and skylights, coupled with special sensors, turn off lights in areas when they’re not needed.

Water is also a key resource. Special water flow technology equipment at Mercy West Lakes cuts water usage by 21 percent. Plants and grasses were selected for landscaping based on their lower demands for water. Coupled with efficient irrigation technology, Mercy West Lakes will save 605,000 gallons of water a year.

Recycling also plays a major role at Mercy West Lakes. Twenty percent of all materials used in constructing the building come from recycled goods. Aten says Mercy works to convert two-thirds of West Lakes’ generated waste into reusable products.

Stewardship of resources is a guiding principle of the Sisters of Mercy. Whether those resources are financial or environmental, Mercy West Lakes and its staff will remain focused to meet this challenge. 


Contact Gregg Lagan
Mercy Medical Center – Des Moines

515-247-3050
cell 515-490-6636


1111 6th Avenue, Des Moines, Iowa 50314 (515) 247-3121
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