I couldn’t think of a better and more recent example than the Veterinary Medical Center at Portland’s Oregon Zoo.
The new animal health facility opened last month under budget and on time and features an array of “green” architectural features. The 15,500-square-foot, $9.15 million dollar hospital replaces a health care center less than half its size built in 1966.
Peck Smiley Ettlin Architects and Skanska USA designed and constructed the LEED silver certified building based on standards set by the U.S. Green Building Council. One “green” feature integrated into the highly efficient building design is a 27,000-gallon rainwater cistern which stores roof water intended for recycling. The water is purified and used to flush toilets and even hose down animal patient enclosures and quarantine facilities.
To reduce electrical costs, solar energy is used to heat the water and solar tube lighting is used to illuminate the facility with natural light.
Building materials low in volatile organic compounds were selected for construction; foundation materials and cosmetic furnishings like carpet and tile, when possible were selected from recycled materials. According to zoo communications personnel, the design and construction team exceeded their goal of recycling 90 percent of construction waste.
Seventy-eight trees were removed to accommodate the Veterinary Medical Center and 198 trees and 171 shrubs were planted in their place. Conifers were used in a stream restoration project and deciduous trees were chipped for use as mulch. I commend the Oregon Zoo staff and the consulting design team for constructing this certified green building and state-of-the art animal health care facility.