Discussing Climate Change in Climate Ready Spaulding Rehabilitation Center
(The Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital has many options for medicine, including physical therapy. One of these facilities which faces the Boston Harbor is pictured above)
Set on a piece of picturesque property along the Boston harbor, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital is a beautiful state of the art facility that is doing its best to both adapt to and mitigate the effects of climate change. The setting is incredible and specifically chosen to give patients a relaxing stay - but the waterfront location is a risky choice as storms like Superstorm Sandy become stronger and more frequent. However, the building was designed with climate change in mind.
(Each of the patients’ rooms have operable windows to provide fresh air if needed, especially in the event of an air system malfunction. The rooms also have views to promote a relaxing stay and plenty of natural light.)
I was able to visit the Spaulding Rehabilitation Center, along with officials from 19 other global cities, during a recent tour. Put together by Bloomberg Philanthropies and the US State Department, the delegates from around the world attended the information exchange in San Francisco, Boston, and Washington DC. Over the course of nearly 2 weeks, delegates from across the globe came together to discuss climate change, and learn from other cities’ successes and failures to help improve the global efforts to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change.
As Boston continues to see stronger storms and the coastal effects of climate change, buildings like the Spaulding Rehabilitation Center will be a prime example of how to retrofit our city’s buildings, and how to build with resiliency in mind. Mechanical equipment like generators are located on the roof to prevent power outages due to basement flooding. Unlike many large buildings in Boston, many of the windows are operable, providing a safety feature and the ability to bring fresh air to patients in the event of an air system failure. The unique features of the building provide a fresh perspective on construction in the face of climate preparedness.
(The Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital is unique in its climate preparedness building; the mechanics for things like energy are on the roof, instead of the basement, to be prepared for coastal flooding.)
Spaulding Rehabilitation Center is well supported by an environment of forward thinking for the realities of climate change. The City of Boston was named a climate champion city, and our innovative Climate Action Plan puts us at the forefront of climate action with aggressive carbon cutting goals of reducing our carbon emissions 80% by 2050.
Boston was named the #1 most energy efficient city in the United States according to the American Council for Energy Efficiency for the second year in a row. The recent release of our Building Energy Reporting and Disclosure Ordinance (BERDO) has brought energy efficiency in large buildings into the public eye in order to find ways to help owners, tenants, and stakeholders reduce their carbon footprint and money spent on energy. Boston has also created the Renew Boston Trust to reduce energy consumption and cut costs in municipal buildings.
Being able to attend the Bloomberg and US State Department Exchange was a wonderful experience and made me hopeful to see so many countries come together over our common interest to share best practices. I hope to see the same wealth of knowledge and excitement in the coming months for the Paris Climate Conference. Boston is leading by example on a national, and international level. Attending and signing the Compact of Mayors in Los Angeles, Boston has become a model city for sustainability on the global Path to Paris at the 2015 Paris Climate Conference.