Kaiser Permanente set an aggressive goal to reduce energy and water use at its new Westside Medical Center: goals that the new facility is already starting to meet just months after its opening, says Matthew Miller, project director, Kaiser Permanente.
Among those goal-achieving initiatives are a solar voltaic array on the roof of the eight-story parking structure that powers the garage and generates enough power to make it energy neutral (see image). Subtle water features in the outdoor courtyard collect roof rainwater and pump it to the parking structure where it supplies water to the vertical gardens covering its exterior walls.
Miller says the entire campus was built using renewable wind power and that 70 percent of power used comes from clean energy. The heating and cooling systems are zoned, which enables the building to reuse any waste heat or cooling that’s generated by the building’s systems. For example, dedicated chillers in the operating rooms generate heat that’s captured to warm domestic water. 
“We’re projecting we’ll use 27 percent less energy than the code would allow and 35 percent less water overall,” Miller says.
Kaiser Permanente says the entire 15-acres campus, including the hospital, MOB, utility plant, and parking structure, is LEED-NC Gold certified—a first for the organization—and was achieved for a net additional cost of less than 1 percent of the total cost of construction.
“The energy and water saving alone will pay back that 1 percent five or six times over the expected life of the facility,” Miller says.
The efforts also support Kaiser Permanente’s mandate to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2020 (from 2008 levels).

For more on Kaiser’s Westside Medical Center, read “Kaiser Permanente Puts Its Template To The Test In Oregon,” and for a detailed look at the facility's art program, check out “Art Plays Starring Role At Kaiser Permanente’s New Oregon Hospital.”