Volume 49, Issue 6 - June 2014


Natural Medicine
Architects Keep Daylighting in Mind on Sarasota Memorial Hospital Design
by Ellen Rogers

Feeling blue? Sit by a window and chances are good you’ll start to feel better. Studies have shown that natural light can have tremendous benefits when it comes to human health. In fact, light has been shown to impact health and performance in several ways, such as:
• Enabling performance of visual tasks;
• Controlling the body’s circadian system (see below graphic);
• Affecting mood and perception; and
• Facilitating direct absorption for critical chemical reactions within the body (Boyce, Hunter & Howlett, 2003; Veitch and McColl, 1993).

Hospital and healthcare settings especially have seen benefits from natural light, often made possible by daylighting-oriented designs. Consider, for example, the Sarasota Memorial Hospital (SMH) in Sarasota, Fla., where a 300,000-square-foot, nine-story patient tower was recently built. Designed by Gresham, Smith and Partners (GSP) in Tampa, Fla., the project features an abundance of natural light made possible by the use of 27,000 square feet of glass throughout the structure. Key Glass of Bradenton, Fla., was charged with the task of installation, and worked with products from both Viracon and YKK AP.

Natural daylight exposure is important for the health and well-being of patients, staff, and visitors within a healthcare environment, and GPS’s Shawn Kelley, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP BD+C, says this played a significant role in the project’s design.

“Natural daylighting studies have shown daylighting improves the patient’s mood, eases pain, improves sleep, and circadian rhythm as well as reduces length of stay in hospitals,” says Kelley, “Natural daylighting can reduce the fatigue in staff, reduce staff errors, and provide more light for complex visual tasks while increasing the satisfaction within the work environment. It also supplements artificial lighting within the facility, reducing the facility’s power requirements as long as appropriate glazing is selected to control thermal transfer and heat gains.”

Product Selection
With an eye on daylighting, it was important for architects to select glazing products that would not only provide light, but could also meet performance requirements for energy efficiency and impact resistance, among many others.

“The glazing products were selected for their impact-resistance in a hurricane zone, thermal performance in a hot/humid climate, acoustic benefit to meet new building code regulations and low maintenance, in addition to their aesthetic properties,” says Kelley.

Jeff Rigot, who works in architectural sales with Viracon, explains that the glass is also insulating and has a low-E coating for optimal energy efficiency. The glass has a shading coefficient of 0.32, solar heat gain coefficient of 0.28 and light to solar gain ratio of 1.93.

“The aqua blue Azuria tint combined with a neutral 2M low-E coating achieves a very high light-to-solar-gain, blending abundant natural daylighting with exceptional solar reflection,” says Rigot.

Sheila Bosch, a researcher, Ph.D. and LEED AP with GSP, adds that glazing products also offer patients, their care partners, and staff an opportunity to connect with nature.

“Research has demonstrated that most people prefer a view of nature to a view of the built environment, and nature views are associated with enhanced physiological (e.g., reduced pain perception) and psychological well-being ( mood, satisfaction),” says Bosch.

She notes, though, that not every space will have a window, nor will every window have a nice view. “At SMH, decision-makers chose to demolish an older building adjacent to the new tower and locate a garden there so that patients could experience the many benefits that natural light and restorative views offer,” she says.

She adds that while there are other benefits of properly using glazing products, such as reduced energy costs associated with lighting, “the real savings will more likely be realized through reduced length of patient stays and improved staff satisfaction.”

Other features include a two-story lobby space with curtainwall to provide natural daylighting.

“This is shaded by overhangs and canopies to prevent shadows, provide indirect lighting, and reduce glare,” says Bob Berry, AIA, project manager with GSP. “High horizontal windows in the patient rooms provide natural daylight while maintaining the option for patient privacy.”

Jason Burkhart, the project manager with Key Glass who worked on the hospital adds, “It’s a different type of hospital; it’s not in a closed environment,” he says. “There is 80 percent glass on the first floor. The hospital has a different look and feel compared to others you may have been in.”

Form Meets Function
Designing and constructing a project that accounts for daylighting, energy performance and impact resistance brings along unique concerns and considerations.

“Due to the design limitations to meet Florida Product Approval impact resistance, glazing systems dictate the overall design of the curtainwall and storefront appearance, requiring close consideration of the glazing system when developing the look of the overall building,” says Kelley. Given the hospital’s proximity to the coast line in a hurricane zone, this required the glazing system to meet strong wind speeds, pressures, and impact resistance. To meet these requirements, the project incorporates the YHC 300 Inside Glazed (IG) impact resistant and blast mitigation curtainwall system supplied by YKK AP. It has a 3-inch wide face dimension to permit the glass engagement necessary for higher design pressures.

Another unique consideration involved having to design the project per the requirements of the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) Department of Plans and Construction. Kelley explains this agency is primarily responsible for ensuring hospitals and other healthcare facilities are safe, functional, and provide safety-to-life for the patients and residents.

“During design and construction, AHCA enforces codes and healthcare design standards adopted by the state of Florida,” says Kelley. “The FBC requires the building’s exterior cladding components (including glazing, windows, curtainwall, storefronts and doors) to meet stringent hurricane impact and water infiltration requirements. This means that the glazing systems installed on this project had to pass stringent tests to withstand debris impact, water infiltration, and the cycling water intrusion as described in the FBC.”

Burkhart agrees.

“AHCA is diligent in making sure [all components are] installed per the approved documents,” says Burkhart. “When dealing with such stringent protocols it can make for a difficult project.

The human body’s circadian rhythm controls biological events that repeat themselves throughout the day at regular intervals; basically, the body’s internal clock. According to the paper, The Impact of Light on Outcomes in Healthcare Settings, by Anjali Joseph, Ph.D., director of research, The Center for Health Design, “if the internal rhythms do not match the workday rhythms, which is the case for many healthcare workers, staff can feel drowsy, tired and distracted.”

The report explains that “exposure to outdoor daylight is a key factor in determining the phase of the circadian rhythm. According to Boyce and colleagues (2003), daylight provides a higher light level at the eye that is matched to the spectral sensitivity of the circadian rhythms than most electric-light sources. “By controlling the circadian system, light—both natural and artificial—impacts many health outcomes among patients and staff in hospitals such as depression, sleep, circadian rest-activity rhythms, as well as length of stay in the hospital.”

Increasing Awareness
As hospitals and healthcare facilities recognize the many benefits of natural daylighting, those working in the field, as well as architects and designers, say they are seeing more and more requests for the increasing use off glass.

Burkhart says he is certainly seeing a growing number of hospitals being built with daylighting in mind. “The new energy codes are helping with that.”

He adds his company has done a lot of work with SMH in the past and recalls what the previous patient facility was like.

“There were screens to protect for impact, no brilliant light,” he says. Now, he says, patients, staff and others inside benefit from a brighter, lighter environment.

Ellen Rogers is the editor of USGlass magazine. Follow her on Twitter @USGlass and like USGlass on Facebook to receive updates.





© Copyright 2014 Key Communications Inc. All rights reserved.
No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.