MaineGeneral’s Alfond Center for Health has been awarded LEED gold certification by the U.S. Green Building Council.

The new 192-bed hospital, which opened Nov. 9, 2013, is the first health care facility in Maine and only the second in the nation to be built successfully to the new 2010 LEED gold (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) for Healthcare standards. Only five facilities in the world have been certified at any level. To qualify, the MaineGeneral building met stringent national guidelines. LEED ranks organizations in terms of environmental stewardship and sustainability.

“As a health care organization, it is incredibly important to us that we provide a safe, healthy facility and that we set a standard for ensuring a healthy environment now and into the future,” said Chuck Hays, MaineGeneral Health president and CEO, in a news release. “We want to be responsible stewards of our community.”

To achieve LEED certification, points are awarded in seven key areas of human environmental health and design: sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, material and resources, indoor environmental quality, innovation, and regional priority credits.

“Our initial goal was to achieve silver certification. But as we constantly looked for ways to improve efficiencies throughout the construction process, it became apparent that we would achieve enough points for the higher gold certification,” Hays said.

The energy savings is about $1.2 million per year.

Special attention was given to using recycle-based materials and materials sourced within a 500-mile radius.

Other features designed to minimize harmful effects on the environment include:

• high-tech heating and cooling systems that run on natural gas;

• low-water-flow technology;

• storm water systems that enhance natural resources, recover rainwater from roofs to replenish building systems and on-site retention and filtering ponds;

• interior lighting that turns on automatically when someone enters the room and turns off after a brief delay when the system senses the room is empty;

• building management systems that allow the most efficient use of heating and cooling systems;

• selecting adhesives, paints, coatings, carpets and composite woods that don’t give off harmful gases;

• tracking indoor ventilation and air quality;

• recycling 81 percent of the 8,738,320 pounds of construction waste during construction.

The facility was built using the Integrated Project Delivery system, an innovative process that brought together the architectural and construction teams along with MaineGeneral to maximize evidence-based design and lean construction. On the team were architectural firms SMRT and TRO Jung Brannen and contractors Robins and Morton and H.P. Cummings. Throughout the project, MaineGeneral was committed to providing local jobs. Of the $184 million in subcontracts awarded, $178 million, or 97 percent, were awarded to local companies.

This is the second health care facility MaineGeneral has built to LEED standards. The Harold Alfond Center for Cancer Care, which opened July 2007, was the first health care facility in the state to be built to LEED New Construction standards.

MaineGeneral Health is an integrated, not-for-profit health care system that provides a wide range of services throughout central Maine’s Kennebec Valley. In November 2013, MaineGeneral opened a 192-bed, state-of-the-art hospital in Augusta — the Alfond Center for Health. Renovations to transform its Waterville campus into a comprehensive outpatient center — the Thayer Center for Health — are underway, with a target completion date of October 2014. The health care system also includes a regional cancer center, primary care and specialty physician practices, long-term care facilities, rehabilitation, mental health and substance abuse services, home health care and hospice services, specialized care for people with memory loss, community outreach programs, and retirement living options.