Yawkey Center for Cancer Care's green design earns gold

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The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) awarded Dana-Farber Cancer Institute's Yawkey Center for Cancer Care its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) Gold certification in recognition of its design and construction that conserves natural resources, reduces waste, and promotes health among its patients, staff, and visitors. It is only the second medical care building in Massachusetts to earn this distinction.

LEED Gold is the second highest level of certification award by USGBC, which established the certification program to encourage and recognize the design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings.

"Back in 2005, during our first Yawkey Center planning meetings, we mapped out the strategies needed to create a building as energy efficient and sustainable as possible, because we feel this is very much in line with the mission of Dana-Farber," said Sherri Rullen, director of Architecture at Dana-Farber. "Being LEED certified makes for a healthier building, which in turn protects the health of our patients and staff."

Rullen and Wendy Gettleman, senior director of Planning, Design, and Construction at Dana-Farber, led the effort to achieve LEED status, along with Ed Lewicki, who recently retired as the program director for mechanical, electrical, and plumbing operations in the Yawkey Center. The team also included representatives from Walsh Brothers, Inc., which led the construction of the building, numerous project engineers, and ZGF Architects LLP, which designed the building and guided the process to completion.

The Yawkey Center incorporates an array of sustainable design features, including low-flow plumbing, which will reduce water usage by more than half; a light dimming system that adjusts to available daylight, reducing the amount of electricity used for lighting; automated shades that raise or lower depending on the amount of sunlight to maximize use of natural light while reducing glare; and a heat recovery system that reclaims energy by warming or cooling outdoor air. The majority of the building's tiered roofs are planted with native foliage, such as grasses, sedums, and other low-lying groundcover. These green spaces – the first in Boston's Longwood Medical Area – will help cool the building in the summer, improve air quality, and reduce the rate of storm water runoff.

"Our patients cared about creating a sustainable building with green materials and lessening the impact on our surrounding environment, so this was very important to us," said Gettleman. "The added benefit is that these features will pay for themselves."

Rick Fedreizzi, USGBC's president, CEO and founding chair, commended Dana-Farber for its commitment to utilizing sustainable design and construction practices. "Dana-Farber's LEED certification demonstrates tremendous green building leadership. The urgency of USGBC's mission has challenged the industry to move faster and reach further than ever before, and Dana-Farber's Yawkey Center serves as a prime example with just how much we can accomplish."

See photos of the Yawkey Center for Cancer Care in our Flickr gallery 

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