Mile Square Health Center certified LEED Gold

The University of Illinois Hospital & Health Science System’s new Mile Square Health Center building at the corner of Wood Street and Roosevelt Road has been certified as meeting LEED Gold standards by the U.S. Green Building Council.

Mile Square Health Center main location at 1220 S. Wood St. (Click on image for larger file.)

Mile Square Health Center main location at 1220 S. Wood St. (Click on image for larger file.)

The five-story, 122,000-square-foot center was designed by Moody-Nolan Architects, the largest African American-led architecture firm in the country. Construction began in January 2012, and the center opened last January.

It is the third building on the UIC campus to be LEED Gold-certified — an internationally recognized designation that a building was designed and constructed using sustainable practices. Others are classroom buildings — Douglas Hall, renovated in 2011; and Lincoln Hall, renovated in 2010.

“Having three LEED-certified buildings demonstrates the chancellor’s and the administration’s commitment to sustainability and energy conservation and that we continue to be a leader in that field,” said Mark Donovan, vice chancellor for administrative services.

The first design for the Mile Square building incorporated features that would have achieved LEED Silver status, but “many design decisions along the way resulted in the building being constructed so that LEED Gold certification became a distinct possibility,” said Deeta Bernstein, group manager for sustainability services with Cotter Consulting, which worked with Moody-Nolan Architects.

“Probably the largest set of decisions that helped us achieve LEED Gold are associated with energy efficiency improvements,” Bernstein said.

The composite metal wall panels that envelop the building take advantage of daylight to warm and light the interior spaces. Energy-efficient lighting fixtures and control switches minimize the use of electricity.

The third floor features a 3,326-square-foot balcony covered in a variety of plantings to serve as a partial green roof, helping to manage storm water. Light-colored permeable pavers in the building’s parking lot help prevent rain from entering the city’s combined sewer and storm water system and reduce the “heat-island effect” produced by dark-colored parking lots that absorb and emit heat.

Energy-efficient air handling units, a gas-fired boiler, cooling and energy recovery systems, and high-quality air filters also contributed to the LEED Gold certification.

Paints, adhesives and finishes were selected for low levels of VOCs (volatile organic compounds) to improve air quality inside the building, and many of the construction materials were produced regionally or made from recycled materials, including structural steel, ceiling panels, drywall, carpet tiles and pavers.

Additional LEED points were awarded for the site’s location near public transit and residential neighborhoods.

The Mile Square Health Center was funded in part by a $12 million competitive grant for the construction of federally qualified health centers under the Affordable Care Act.

It was the first such center in the Chicago area to offer urgent care and specialty care. In addition to primary care, preventive care, obstetrics and gynecology and pediatrics, Mile Square patients can see specialists in ophthalmology, psychiatry, otolaryngology, endocrinology, pulmonology and cardiology at the headquarters center, which also offers mammography on site.

Mile Square has 12 locations with primary and specialty care clinics in the Near West Side, South Shore, Back of the Yards and Englewood neighborhoods and the town of Cicero; four school-based health centers associated with the UIC School of Public Health; and clinics managed by the UIC College of Nursing.