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New health complex features green roof, sustainable design

COURTESY OF READING HEALTH SYSTEM/ Rendering illustrates the location of the green roof project (left) at Reading Health System’s main location in West Reading.

A construction project with an 88,000-square-foot green roof at Reading Health System’s main location in West Reading, which broke ground in September 2013, will debut to the Berks County community by October.

A construction project with an 88,000-square-foot green roof at Reading Health System’s main location in West Reading, which broke ground in September 2013, will debut to the Berks County community by October.

Earlier this month, the hospital network launched the promotion of its latest campaign and new name for the project: Reading HealthPlex.

The cost of completing the project is $346 million, confirmed Mark McNash, vice president of Support Services for Reading Health System. The new construction links to existing buildings E and N on the original hospital campus.

While a green roof is one major aspect of this work, Reading HealthPlex also involves new operating rooms and patient rooms, created with sustainable practices in design.

“The fact that Reading Health System has incorporated a green roof into their new building design is encouraging, and I applaud their demonstration of conservation principles,” said Kimberly Murphy, president of Berks Nature in Reading, a nonprofit that advocates for conservation of the environment.

The addition of 150 new patient rooms will replace 150 existing ones. The project also ties in expansion of the emergency department and trauma service.

“Now, we will have 24 state-of-the-art operating rooms which will be monitored in a continuous area,” McNash said.

Replacing sterilizers and washers with more energy-efficient models for what’s used in surgeries is one sustainability design practice cited by David Major, director of construction and facilities management at Reading Health System.

“The equipment will probably use anywhere between one-eighth to one-fifth the amount of water which we use today in the cleaning process,” he said.

The air flow with the heating and cooling unit will “recognize when a portion of the building is vacant and actually set back,” Major said. “When folks are coming in during the morning, those systems will be back up and running.”

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