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Animal Hospital takes steps for LEED Certification

Oct 16, 2008


By Doug Storum

LONGMONT - Veterinarian Matthew B. Rooney is as adept at reconstructing a building back to health as he is mending a pet on the operating table.

Rooney, owner and clinical director of Aspen Meadow Veterinary Specialists, a hospital for dogs and cats, is hoping to receive Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, certification for the rebuilt building, a former car dealership that houses his new 8,400-square-foot clinic at 104 S. Main St. in Longmont.

Rooney paid $950,000 for the land and spent another $1.6 million in reconstruction of the building. Rooney said going for the certification and adding other special features tripled the cost, but he feels strongly about being socially and environmentally responsible.

"We're committed to making thoughtful contributions the community," Rooney said. "Our new business structure aims to provide the best care possible while being mindful of the planet."

The clinic previously was part of Flatiron Veterinary Specialists and was located in a smaller space at 230 S. Main St. in Longmont.

The clinic, open 24 hours a day every day of the year, handles about 50 emergencies per weekend on average.

"The old place was cramped and wasn't really laid out well," Rooney said. "Everybody on staff had input on coming up with this layout and floor plan to make our efforts as efficient as possible. We're going to be able to provide better service."

The new hospital has a triage area strategically located near two operating rooms and a radiology suite equipped with a digital X-ray machine. "No more chemicals creating film X-rays," Rooney pointed out.

There are five exam rooms named after past patients with photos and stories of the animals behind the names, a physical therapy suite with an underwater treadmill and rehabilitation pool, plus an intensive care unit and a special oxygen cage that treats animals without having to use air tubes.

It also has separate waiting room areas for dogs and cats and their families, a kid's play area in the waiting room, a comfort room and outdoor patio for families whose pets must undergo euthanasia, and a large conference room for employee meetings and ongoing educational seminars. The clinic employs seven doctors, three interns, 20 nurses and seven administrative staff members.

The hospital's services include advanced surgery, physical therapy, pain-management, magnetic resonance imaging, computed tomography and a blood bank.

The reconstruction of the building included the reuse of doors, frames, drinking fountains, windows, walls and roof. The roof was painted white to deflect heat.

Eco-friendly materials such as recycled concrete, low-emission paint, carpet, sealants and adhesives were used. Counters in the reception area look like granite but really are made of crushed recycled glass.

"Those are only in reception area," Rooney said. "It would have been cost prohibitive to use them throughout the clinic."

Rooney pursued energy conservation by installing energy-efficient lighting and day lighting, timers, dimmers, double-switch lighting and motion sensors. Large windows allow in light, and fixtures turn off automatically if ample amount of daylight is in the interior spaces.

A sound-muffling system was installed and is controlled by a dial in exam rooms to offset loud barking or meowing.

The heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system provide a 30 percent increase in ventilation above ASHRAE requirements with the use of carbon dioxide censors. ASHRAE is an international technical society that advances the arts and sciences of heating, ventilation, air-conditioning and refrigeration

Water conservation was addressed by installing low-flow fixtures and dual-flush toilets.

The hospital has been a partner with Eco-Cycle of Boulder County working toward being a zero-waste business. Prior to the move the hospital was reducing its impact on the environment by using recyclable and biodegradable products ranging from compostable plates to reusing hard to recycle materials like plastic syringe cases.

Recycling bins are available throughout the new clinic, and composting stations are on site.

The company also provides bike racks, showers and lockers to allow employees to bike to work or work out while on break.

Project manager was Pallavicini LLC of Denver; architect was Lewis Himes Associates Inc. in Littleton; and construction was performed by Dohn Construction Inc. of Fort Collins.

Contact writer Doug Storum at 303-440-4950 or e-mail

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