Guest Blog with Paulo Nunes-Ueno, Director of  Transportation & Sustainability

Our first priority when we started planning our Building Hope expansion was to create a safe, healing and welcoming environment for patients and families. But we didn’t stop there. We also committed to making the healthiest choices possible in every phase of design and construction – healthy for the building’s occupants, the neighborhood and the planet.

To help guide our efforts, we decided to work toward LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. Gaining this certification requires us to meet eco-friendly standards for site development, resource consumption, materials selection and the indoor environment – the building blocks of sustainable design and construction.

We also developed a Livable Streets Initiative. As we make the neighborhood more walkable and bikeable, we’re helping people stay active and reducing pollution by providing a healthy alternative to driving.

As Building Hope progresses toward its 2013 opening, I’m pleased to share with you some of the project’s green details starting with our choice of building materials.

More than 20 percent of materials (as measured by cost) will have recycled content. More than 50 percent of wood products will be sustainably harvested and certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.

Paints, adhesives, flooring and furniture will have little or no amounts of volatile organic compounds. Wood and any products containing wood will be free of toxic

urea-formaldehyde binders and adhesives.

We diverted more than 90 percent of construction and demolition debris from landfills through recycling and reuse – including more than 4,000 plants, trees and shrubs that are gradually being replanted as well as bricks that will be used to create paths.

Next: Conservation strategies