Arbor Update

Ann Arbor Area Community News

New Mott Children's Hospital controversy

21. November 2005 • MarkDilley
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I believe this event is outdated by a couple of days, but not the gist of the information.

Tomorrow at the football game volunteers will be selling bracelets to benefit the new Mott Children’s Hospital at U of M. Hundreds of students and Ann Arbor citizens urge you NOT to buy a bracelet in protest of the polluting building that is being proposed. Our children’s hospital has a special responsibility to provide healthcare without harm. Here are some reasons why:

  • The hospital system is the largest consumer of power in Ann Arbor. Emissions from the U of M power plant blow east over low-income Ypsilanti and Detroit neighborhoods where asthma rates are through the roof (and other maladies as well).
  • A green building would have cleaner indoor air and natural light to help kids heal when they’re in the Hospital.
  • A LEED silver building with certification (mid-level “greenness”)
    would cost about 1.5% more upfront but pay for itself in 5-8 years.
  • Mott’s current plan is to build a non-LEED building (also ignoring
    the Green Guide to Healthcare) for $498 per square foot. Mott’s peer institution in Pittsburgh, by contrast, plans a combination of LEED and LEED platinum for $300 per square foot.

    As an alternative we urge you to e-mail Mott leaders Robert Kelch
    ( and Patricia Warner ( and tell them that your check will be in the mail as soon as they do right by the children they claim to serve.

> previous article New hospital to replace Mott

  1. Oh for Christ’s sake. Can it get any pettier? I urge you not to buy a fucking bracelet too. Just send Mott a check and let them keep all the money. And then you can write your letter about the green building. But for the love of God, don’t hold the little fucking cancer kids ransom while you’re extorting a few BTU’s from the U.
       —Parking Structure Dude!    Nov. 22 '05 - 01:44PM    #
  2. FYI, one of the reasons LEED is failing is because it has a long and expensive process to certify a building. In addition to some green technologies that might cost more at first, there is additional time and mounds of paperwork for the consultants who design it. The library looked into it for the Malletts Creek branch and didn’t pursue it, even though they could have easily won certification for the vegetated roof and alternative swale system.

    Now should the hospital build as green as possible? absolutely. But requiring them to do LEED is asking for too much IMO.
       —KGS    Nov. 22 '05 - 02:18PM    #
  3. Is LEED failing? Seemed like it was expanding.
       —Brandon    Nov. 22 '05 - 04:32PM    #
  4. It is ‘failing’ in that the actual number of buildings being certified through LEED still remains dismally small. The number of LEED certified professionals continues to increase though, so I suppose that is good for ‘green’ building practices. Theoretically we know how to build better, it is just a question of whether the client wants to go through the expense of LEED. Most often, the answer is ‘no’.
       —KGS    Nov. 22 '05 - 04:43PM    #
  5. Sounds like “organic” – certification made difficult enough that nobody wants to do it.

    But, LEED aside, hospitals really should be among the greenest of buildings – if you subscribe to “first, do no harm”, shouldn’t you avoid slow poisoning of your patients?
       —Murph.    Nov. 22 '05 - 05:11PM    #
  6. I would think that there’s a better way of convincing UMich to go green than trying to turn money away from sick kids.

    As for LEED certification, screw LEED certification. Just build the damn building the right way…. you don’t need a piece of paper to tell you that the building is energy efficient or built without toxins.

    This is the same reason that you don’t see any of our products with USDA Organic Certification. Most of our beers qualify (a couple of the ales wouldn’t), and our gin, vodka, and quite a few of our liqueurs would be certified 100%. Certification would take a ton of time and cost a boatload of money. I’d rather use our hard won capital to make our business more sustainable rather than waste it all on telling everyone that we’re environmentally sustainable.

    Our priorities are upside down here, and this kind of crap happens all the time in the “environmental” field. Some people are more interested in making themselves feel good than they are in actually solving these damn problems (not saying that this is necessarily the case w/Mott).
       —todd    Nov. 22 '05 - 05:21PM    #
  7. Slow poisoning is left up to the hospital cafeteria. They’re early adopters of the Slow Poison movement, which is very big in Europe.

    Jokes aside, I’d like the building to be reasonably green too, but even in a “conventional” hospital building patients are in way more danger from loose germs/septic shock and staff negligence than they are from any environmental concerns stemming from the building’s lack of greenness. So encourage them to make it green, but don’t deny them your generosity until they do exactly as you say. That sort of smug self-righteousness is just a little too Ann Arbory for me.
       —Parking Structure Dude!    Nov. 22 '05 - 05:33PM    #
  8. I pretty much agree with the above comments.

    Nonetheless, the UM hospital bureaucracy (like that of other hospitals) is notoriously impenetrable and unresponsive, and there aren’t many routes available to persuade them not to build a bad building. Or for that matter, to get them to listen to or take seriously any outside input whatsoever.

    The hospital folks are surely good at managing acute care, but they don’t give a whoop about the (considerable) incidental impacts of building a huge new hospital.

    Unless they’re forced to, that is. and making the building decision controversial (via interfering in fundraising) may be the only way.
       —Larry Kestenbaum    Nov. 22 '05 - 06:43PM    #
  9. The reason we want Mott to go LEED is to hold Mott administrators accountable to a standard. We have also asked them to simultaneously participate in the Green Guide for Healthcare, a FANTASTIC non-accrediting assistance program to help hospitals build green.
    To the person who wrote that we shouldn’t hold children’s health ransom for this cause, think about this: the paints, the flooring, the cleaning chemicals, the furiture, and the building materials used in “conventional” buildings (including hospitals)have been proven to CAUSE CANCER. So answer me this, do you want a hospital in your community that is both causing and attempting to cure cancer when they could make the simple decision to design for health?
    Mott has the resources ($500 Million) to stand up and say that they will take the lead in building for health and the environment- for our FUTURE. LEED certification is just a way for us to ensure that Mott is doing the bare minimum. We must hold this dubious administration accountable to outside accredidation. Let me say this, LEED is not nearly as expensive as cleaning up our water ways, giving a child chemotherapy, and purchasing asthma medicine for healthcare workers affected by poor indoor air quality. Think about the externalities of conventional building!
    This campaign is ABOUT THE CHILDREN.
       —Rachael    Nov. 29 '05 - 07:45PM    #