Vinyl Flooring Earns Spot in Acute Care LEED Hospital
The new Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas is currently the largest hospital construction project in the United States. At $1.27 billion, the new healthcare facility will replace the existing 54-year-old Parkland Memorial Hospital. Aiming for LEED Gold certification, the master plan includes a 64-acre healthcare campus and a 862-bed, full-service acute care replacement hospital. Designers wanted to create a space focused on healing while maintaining a practical approach to the use of sustainable technologies and techniques that were embedded as part of the overall design. As part of that focus, the new hospital will have drought-tolerant landscaping and high-efficiency equipment in its central utility plant. The hospital was also designed with water-saving fixtures expected to reduce potable water use by 35 percent, low VOC-emitting materials and a highly efficient roofing system.
From its inception, the design for the new Parkland Hospital was directed at the medical center’s connection to the city’s urban fabric and its importance as a civic anchor. Maintaining its excellence as a trauma and burn center also established a strong developmental framework for the overall conceptual development.
Before building the new healthcare facility, the project team developed a full-scale mock-up onsite just adjacent to the project team offices. Seven of the most used, most duplicated rooms were mocked up to vigorously test the various materials and finishes that were being considered.
While designing the most used areas, such as patient rooms and Neonatal rooms, Parkland upheld high standards for product performance and sustainability. “Because we are the Safety Net county hospital for this area, we really have to stand behind the durability of the products we choose,” explains Gena English, AAHID, EDAC, RAS, Senior Program Manager for the NPH FF&E/ Interior Designer Hospital Replacement Program. “It’s very important to us to be able to stand behind every decision that we make, from the products and materials that no one ever sees to the finished pieces that they’re going to see every day.”
“Knowing that we wanted to use a wood look sheet vinyl in the patient rooms, we looked at several different manufacturers,” English says. Test sections of the various flooring choices were installed, cleaned and maintained. The architectural design team, as well as the nurses, staff and patient advisory committee, toured these spaces quite often to view all the products and give their opinions in the decisions. Testing included everyday scenarios of the product usage. For flooring, that meant “we put it through everything that it would actually experience out in the field—including spills of the medications we frequently use, and dropped fluids of all kinds like saline solution—and really let the flooring products speak for themselves.“
Ultimately, Teknoflor vinyl flooring with recycled content was chosen for the patient rooms. “Teknoflor was by far the best aesthetically and the easiest to clean and maintain,” says English.
With a hospital of this size, reducing cleaning and maintenance is a great advantage. “We are a completely non-waxed facility,” says English. “There were some other flooring options flooring options that we tested that are very well known, great quality products that honestly didn’tclean very well at all.” Teknoflor vinyl flooring was shown tominimize cleaning time because of its durability and no waxfeature.
“Even though sustainability is a big part of the design concept,” English continues, “we realized that sheet vinyl flooring wouldn’t necessarily help lead directly to earning certification points. But it was a product we were very comfortable using.” Even though projects are awarded points under LEED for sustainable characteristics, not all individual products used within them can contribute. Teknoflor vinyl flooring helped deliver several sustainable attributes through the use of recycled content and its highly durable nature ensured a long service life, justifying the initial investment and improving life cycle costs. The basic PVC molecule is derived from 57 percent common salt and is recyclable at the end of its service life. Through the use of silver nanotechnology it does not support bacterial growth, an issue of critical importance in a hospital. Finally, since the surface is already finished, the product does not call for the introduction of harsh cleaners or waxing agents as part of product maintenance.
In the end, patient care was enhanced by the high level of design achieved. “We want everybody who uses our new hospital facility to feel very comfortable in the spaces,” says English. “And I think we’ve achieved that.”
Project Name: Parkland Memorial Hospital
Location: Dallas, TX
Date Completed Expected completion in late 2014
Owner: Government—Hospital District
Architect: HDR + Corgan
Construction Manager: BARA
Flooring Product: Teknoflor vinyl flooring
Vinyl Benifits: Teknoflor vinyl flooring contains between 23% and 52% recycled content (depending on product type above) and may contribute to credits under LEED MR 4.1/4.2. Teknoflor vinyl flooring is also slip resistant and uses silver nanotechnology to achieve antibacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-static properties.