Robins & Morton Becomes Only General Contractor to Receive Multiple LEED® Gold Healthcare Certifications


Robins & Morton earns second LEED® for Healthcare (HC) Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council for work on the new HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital of Western Massachusetts. Robins & Morton is the only general contractor to receive multiple LEED Gold HC certifications.

Opening the hospital doors in November 2013 marked an important first step in the revitalization efforts of the historical mill town of Ludlow, Mass. The 74,000-square-foot,
53-bed rehabilitation hospital is the largest newly built facility of HealthSouth Corporation.

ac_hs-ludlow_15_p8x12_fs The $27 million hospital is one of only seven projects in the US to ever receive a LEED HC certification. LEED HC was developed in 2009 to specifically guide the design and construction process of green healthcare facilities. Early in the design process, Healthsouth, Robins & Morton and designer Gresham, Smith & Partners set a goal to obtain LEED HC Silver certification. Multiple credits specific to the new LEED HC rating system are challenging to project teams; however, the Healthsouth Ludlow team worked together to provide innovative solutions to achieve the points associated with these new credits.

“HealthSouth’s goal is to create a hospital environment that meets the highest standards for patient wellness and reduce energy consumption,” said Victoria Healy, chief executive officer of HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital of Western Massachusetts. “We want to provide the healthiest environment possible for the healing process.”

The team began the LEED process by determining which credits aligned with the client’s goals and were therefore feasible for the project. They analyzed the remaining credits by initial cost and operational return to determine which additional points would be attempted.

The project began tracking silver certification, but as construction progressed, the team picked up additional points due to installation of efficient building systems, generation of renewable energy onsite, sourcing a significant percentage of regional and recycled materials, installing materials with low level of toxins and VOC’s and by flushing the building’s HVAC system to improve air quality. Additionally, the owner committed to a series of sustainable practices that would be implemented during operations. The owner’s commitment to educate visitors on green building strategies, to manage and recycle the waste generated during operations, and to develop and implement a green cleaning program reinforced their commitment to sustainability and achieved three points within the innovation in design category. The additional points the project team obtained were enough to surpass the silver goal and achieve LEED HC Gold certification.

ac_hs-ludlow_06_p8x12_fsThe project’s brownfield industrial site was once a rope mill in the 1800s and offered a tremendous amount of salvageable brick and other materials that were incorporated into the new structure, helping reach the goal of LEED HC Gold certification. The team was able to divert 90 percent of all construction waste and 97 percent of concrete waste from local landfills. Other elements of reuse and sustainable construction include:

  • Reuse of more than 100,000 bricks from demolished on-site warehouses
  • Reclaimed 250 linear feet of timbers to use within lobby
  • All other non-organic demolished materials/debris were crushed on-site and used to create 4,000 yards of structural fill and base
  • Sustainably sourced 38 percent of project materials (including 19 percent recycled materials; 18 percent regional materials)
  • Reused 65 percent of furniture & furnishings
  • Connected patients and staff to outdoor environment through courtyards and locations of respite
  • Installed vegetation native to the area to eliminate water usage for irrigation
  • Utilized efficient building systems to minimize energy needs 26 percent
  • Reduced water usage within building by 31 percent
  • Installed photovoltaic panels to renewably generate 5 percent of the projects energy needs

ac_hs-ludlow_29_p8x12_fsBeyond their contribution to LEED certification, Robins & Morton implemented additional green measures to minimize environmental impact onsite and to enhance the sustainable characteristics of the project. “Our company-wide policies such as our Jobsite Waste Management Policy, Sustainable Jobsites Policy, and Environmental and Stormwater Management Policy ensure our teams are committed to protecting the environment on every project,” said Jackie Mustakas of Robins & Morton. “These policies serve as our foundation for sustainable construction and ensure sustainable jobsite measures are a routine part of our company culture.”

As the only general contractor to receive multiple LEED HC certifications, Robins & Morton was awarded the first LEED HC Gold certification in the Northeast earlier this year for MaineGeneral Alfond Center for Health in Augusta, Maine and looks to complete Sierra Providence West in El Paso, Texas with a LEED HC certification. 

You can view the official USGBC LEED scorecard for this project here:

About Robins & Morton

Founded in 1946, Robins & Morton is a privately held engineering and construction firm that consistently ranks among the 100 largest U.S. contractors in Engineering News-Record Magazine. The company has also been named one of the best mid-sized companies to work for in America because of its worker-friendly and family-friendly practices. Robins & Morton is based in Birmingham, Ala. with offices in Dallas, Texas; Huntsville, Ala.; Orlando, Fla.; Nashville, Tenn.; Charlotte and Raleigh-Durham, N.C. For more information, visit