Environment in Focus

The New Karolinska Solna raises the green bar a notch beyond. The NKS mission: to be the world’s leader in environmentally friendly applications to a world class university hospital. With the human factor as the focal pivotal point, The New Karolinska Solna will be built and operated with the lowest environmental impact to date in new hospital construction. At its core, all environmental efforts emanate from the model of keeping the patient and staff in an optimal indoor environment. This will be achieved by fastidiously conserving natural resources and planning in the full circuit of nature’s cycle into every decision.

Building materials and furnishings

All materials to be used in construction and during the hospital’s operational life cycle shall be resource-efficient. This goes for everything from the concrete in the foundation to the walls, floors, ceilings to the lighting fixtures, bulbs and switches. This enormous will to infuse a gentle-to-the environment effort carefully weighs the total environmental impact. The total impact calculates each step of the total life cycle from raw material to the ultimate recycling of each of these products.

This careful calculation also seeks to avoid or reduce the distribution of environmentally harmful and health threatening substances viewed from production to byproduct.

Thanks to a new eco-friendly resolve among a growing number of public and private companies and agencies involved in the construction industry, a system is now in place known as, “The building supply assessment.” The association intends to set an assessment standard which could be easily applied to projects wishing to build green. Since the parameters of assessing what truly meets a eco-friendly rating are broad, the standard hopes to make it easy for more new constructions to assess the total environmental and health impact during construction.

Energy use must be kept low

A reduced demand in energy results in reduced logistics to provide energy and a favorable consequence; minimize negative environmental impact. In construction the easiest way to keep energy needs low is to make the outer surface as airtight and keep the structure as compact as possible.

The new hospital’s structural design will make use of insulation and a compact design concept to considerably reduce energy input for heating and cooling. Even an airtight outer surface will lose and/or absorb heat, so the smaller the surface area is to internal volume, the less opportunity to lose or absorb heat. With both strategies in place, the New Karolinka will consume considerably less energy to control climate than the existing structures making up today’s Karolinska Solna.

Minimizing electricity usage

Health care facilities electricity consumption traditionally takes up half the hospital's total energy requirement. As a result, energy-efficient equipment and lighting is a priority. But it will not stop there. It is equally important to employ energy-conserving healthcare practices. Both of these considerations take a priority status when designing the facility and procuring its equipment.

Renewable energy a prerequisite

The New Karolinska Solna’s future heating, ventilation and cooling system (HVAC) is going to be cutting-edge among the existing traditional and alternative systems. Regardless of the actual system the ultimate requirement is that all energy purchased by the hospital will come from a renewable source. That includes the suppliers of all electricity. The idea is to keep levels of pollution low during energy production on both a local and global perspective. The aspiration of the NKS is to have as near a zero-impact rating regarding greenhouse gas pollution as reasonably possible. Even backup power generators for both heating and electricity share this requirement and goal.

Loading bays and transport

To optimize the inflow of all supplies and the outflow of used resources, there is to be a well-positioned transport bay to coordinate all shipments to and from the hospital. Internal distribution is expected to be carried out by silent vehicles with zero emissions.

The goods and shipments to and from the new hospital expects to be largely fueled with renewable resources. Public transportation servicing the New Karolinska Solna is also primarily supplied by renewable fuels. Pedestrian and bicycle paths will optimize no-carbon footprint options for people transport. And as a generous offering, electric vehicles will be able to recharge in the garage.

Spent resource reprocessing

Managing the consumed or contaminated resources in the hospital will be given ample space to appropriately sort. Everything in need of disposal and recycling will be sorted and transported using a vacuum/pneumatic tube? The materials or byproducts unsuitable for vacuum transport will be conveyed in specialized and fully-contained automated vehicles to the reprocessing center.

Smarter processing of byproducts by chemicals and gases

Research has shown that there is a great pharmaceutical impact on the environment. Rising concerns humans and animals are also affected by pharmaceuticals have long attracted attention. The Stockholm County Council is committed to reduce spill off of the most environmentally hazardous pharmaceutical products. The efforts extend to a level where they influence which medicines are prescribed and how to safely discard unused medicine. Statistics and studies in this area are to be closely monitored throughout the NKS-project to discover the best solutions from an environmental perspective.

The Stockholm County Council is already a global leader in several areas of environmental actions. An effort is in place to phase out 25 per cent of all existing environmentally hazardous chemicals and completely phase out all environmentally hazardous products by 2011.

Additionally, the Stockholm County Council is blazing a trail within the purification of nitrous oxide used in health care. Both Karolinska University Hospital in Huddinge and the Danderyd Hospital already purify spent nitrous oxide. It’s estimated that released NO2 gas has an approximate 300-time greater impact on climate per measurable unit than carbon dioxide. The Karolinska University Hospital in Huddinge was first worldwide to introduce the recapture of NO2. Without question, The New Karolinska Solna will carry on the practice.

The Indoor Environment

To facilitate a favorable indoor environment, many important aspects which affect the indoor environment and air quality were identified at the early stage of the project. Humidity, ventilation, noise pollution and choice of materials top the list of important factors to take into consideration during planning and construction.

The final choice of materials must long-lasting, have a proven track record and be derived from renewable sources of recyclable materials. There is a requirement to supply a complete list of the material inventory checked off against environmentally sustainable guidelines used throughout the building. The ventilation system is to be designed to maintain high air quality and a demanding security against the spread of airborne contaminants.

Environmental certification and classification of physical structures

The New Karolinska Solna will be designed to meet three main environmental certifications, ISO 14001, LEED and the Swedish system "Miljöbyggnad". Each of these rating system establish an environmentally-related certification criteria to minimize a building's negative environmental impact. NKS will be among a short list of hospitals which will make an effort earn any of these and likely unique to achieve all three.