Medical office goes green

The new Olympia home of Healthy Future Pediatrics is not your typical medical building.

The 6,000-square-foot building at 3021 Pacific Ave. features bright, open spaces and a design that is both friendly to children and the environment.

It is the first medical building in the state to receive a “silver” certification from the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program of the U.S. Green Building Council, a nonprofit group that promotes construction of environmentally responsible buildings.

For Dr. Carl Lindgren, a pediatrician practicing in Olympia since 1990, his new building is a dream come true.

“I’m an ardent supporter of green buildings,” he said. “In a practice with a health focus on prevention, I wanted to create a pleasant, healthy environment for my patients and my staff.”

A quick check with employees and patients during a tour of the office suggested the mission was accomplished.

“It feels like a vacation in here,” said financial manager Lacey Keeney, whose work space looks out on a colorful wall-to-ceiling mural depicting Mount Rainier National Park at sunrise. “The office is open, bright and features lots of space.”

Dana Kiehl was in the office for her daughter Siena’s 1-year checkup. She said the wall mural, the lighting and plethora of windows made for a welcoming experience.

“We designed the building to bring the outside inside,” Lindgren said.

Olympia artist Heather Taylor-Zimmerman spent about one month painting the mural in the waiting room, which features 16-foot-high ceilings.

“I tried to highlight the beauty of the Pacific Northwest,” she said of her work, which is oriented toward the real Mount Rainier which, on a clear day, looms over Pacific Avenue in the distance.

“The reds and oranges and yellows I used are warms colors of the Southwest — not the typical colors of the Pacific Northwest,” she noted.

“But it’s pretty close to sunrise at Mount Rainier.”

Taylor-Zimmerman used non-toxic acrylic paints to make her mural, which is in keeping with the building materials used to construct Healthy Future Pediatrics.

Carpets, paints, glues, cabinet work and flooring is all nontoxic and designed not to emit potentially hazardous volatile organic chemicals.

“There was no new building smell when we moved in,” Lindgren said of the January 2009 relocation of the practice from Lilly Road.

The building’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning system is energy efficient and should cut energy costs by 30 percent over a system simply built to code, noted Joseph Bettridge, a Sunset Air, Inc., vice president and LEED consultant.

The system installed by Sunset Air features digital controls and air-to-air heat exchange that moves heat around in the building where its needed.

Construction crews achieved 98 percent recycling of construction debris during work on the building, noted Scott Oliver, the general contractor and owner of Oliver Reconstruction, Inc., of Olympia.

“This was our first LEED-certified building,” noted Oliver. “The biggest issue is all the documentation required, but we really enjoyed the project.”

The building’s location on the Intercity Transit bus line and its close proximity to a grocery store — the Olympia Food Co-op — also helped rack up LEED certification points, Oliver said.

The office also features lockers and a shower for employees who want to bicycle commute to work or exercise on their lunch break. The landscaping features drought tolerant plants watered by a drip irrigation system.

Just outside Lindgren’s office are two, well-attended bird feeders the doctor fills with bird seed from bags he keeps in his office.

“I’ve been thrilled with what we’ve been able to accomplish,” Lindgren said.