By Rachel Leber
GHANA — The Ridge Hospital in Accra in Ghana, completed in early 2016, was just awarded LEED Silver certification in Dec. 2016. This LEED certification for the new hospital makes it the first of its kind in Africa.
This five-story, 465,560-square-foot hospital had a budget of $1 million. Perkins + Will in Miami was the architect on this project, in collaboration with Bouygues Bâtiment International in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines in France as the general contractor. Americaribe Ghana Ltd., based in Florida, exported the goods and services required for the project.
When thinking about trying to build the hospital sustainably, Perkins + Will had to get creative when thinking about how to make this building LEED-certified, as much of the infrastructure that supports green building in the U.S. doesn’t exist in Ghana. The architecture firm had to design and build with culturally available materials and technology in mind, as well as considering what would be manageable to maintain over the long-term, according to a recent article about the project.
One example of this is that elevators were not an option for this hospital due to how much power that would require. Working with this limitation, Perkins + Will designed the layout of the building to be long and stout, with a large walkable ramp that connects the four stories of the hospital. Similarly, cisterns were installed underneath the building to collect and store water as a way to work with the fact the building isn’t connected to a municipal water supply, and otherwise requires all of the water to be either trucked in or harvested on-site.
The firm employed natural ventilation for the facility, with naturally cooled breezeways, ventilated waiting areas, and outdoor rooms for large groups, due to technologically complex HVAC systems not being an option. A solar hot water heater was installed to make the facility less dependent on electricity, which works well with the hot climate of the region. The majority of the hospital is powered by solar energy, and there is an emergency generator in place to power the entire hospital when needed.
Rather than imposing Western building practices and techniques to achieve LEED for Healthcare, Silver, Perkins + Will found ways to design and build the hospital that were rooted in the geographic region. “It elevates the quality of healthcare to a fantastic level in terms of what’s available,” according to Larry Kline, managing director of Perkins + Will’s Miami office in a recent statement.