Sparrow Ionia Celebrates 1st LEED for Healthcare in Michigan


With a mission to be recognized as a national leader in quality and patient experience, Sparrow Health Systems believes that transparency leads to greater accountability and performance improvement.  Sparrow Health understands that this approach is multi-faceted and translates to more than patient care alone.

On September 8, 2016 the team of the new Sparrow Ionia Hospital celebrated their LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) certification.  The West Michigan Chapter of the US Green Building Council (USGBC) was honored to share this achievement with Sparrow and members of the design team including The Christman Company and Hobbs + Black Architects.  Stories shared during the ceremony about participation from all departments in the hospital made it evident that everyone was taking great pride in this achievement.


LEED for Healthcare is a branch of LEED certification that works to improve the environmental impacts of healthcare facilities.  With unique challenges such as 24/7 operations, chemical use, energy & water use intensity, infection control requirements and the heightened need for patient privacy.  The implementation of sustainable design practices can create obstacles for healthcare facilities.  The LEED for Healthcare rating system acknowledges these obstacles and provides a roadmap for design teams to follow.

The 65,645 square foot Sparrow Hospital located in Ionia has set the bar for healthcare in Michigan.  It replaces the less efficient hospital originally built in 1953.  “Sparrow Hospital really saved healthcare in Ionia County,” said Mayor Dan Baliace at the ceremony.  “We couldn’t be more proud.  They under promised and over delivered.”

At the LEED Certification Ceremony, President & CEO Bill Roeser said, “This event is really the frosting on the cake for us.”  Sparrow is making vast improvements in their field and plans to pursue LEED for Healthcare for the Sparrow Cancer Center in Lansing as well.

Since the launch of LEED for Healthcare in 2011, 301 projects around the world have registered for LEED for Healthcare certification.  Of the 301 registered projects only 29 have achieved certification thus far.

Sparrow Ionia is the first healthcare facility in the State of Michigan under the LEED for Healthcare banner. “Other hospitals in Michigan have achieved the LEED for New Construction Certification, but none have completed the LEED for Healthcare rigorous process,” said LEED project administrator Debra Sypien from The Christman Company.

The investment in LEED certification is really paying off for Sparrow Health.  According to Mark Brisboe, Vice President and CFO, the new hospital has decreased electricity use by 38%, water use by 46% and natural gas use by 49%.  This translates to an operational savings of $209,000 per year despite seeing, on average, an increase of over 30% in occupancy.

Sparrow Ionia is a great example for the green building industry to emphasize the rewards and savings you achieve when you invest in LEED.