Health

Climate-Resilient Health Care Facility

Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital is a clinical research center in Boston developed on a brownfield site. The modern building’s design not only takes advantage of the natural surroundings to create a light and therapeutic atmosphere but also helps to lower energy use and increase resilience to climate disasters. The hospital has been recognized as one the top rehabilitation hospitals in the country, achieving a rank of #5 in the 2016 “America’s Best Hospitals” issue of the US News and World Report.

Landscaping and retaining walls act as a protective reef against storm surges, while ground floor and below-ground garage access are set 2.5 feet above the high flood level. All critical patient facilities are located above the ground floor, while mechanical, electrical, telecommunications and emergency service infrastructures are located on upper floors out of harm’s way in the case of extreme weather and flooding.

Why you should care

Extreme weather events are predicted to increase in intensity and frequency due to climate change, posing a profound threat to health care facilities and services. For example, during Hurricane Katrina in 2005, hospitals in New Orleans experienced power outages caused by flooding of basements and back-up generators. The design team behind the Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston identified and implemented measures to reduce the hospital’s vulnerability to such events.

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