Ronald McDonald House of Austin
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The Ronald McDonald House of Austin; Photos Courtesy Cooper Smith AgencyProject Name: Ronald McDonald House of Austin
Year: 2007
Owner: Ronald McDonald House
Location: Austin, TX, USA
Building Type: Multi-Use
Type: Intensive
System: Single Source Provider
Size: 2145 sq.ft.
Slope: 1%
Access: Accessible, Private
Submitted by: Cooper Smith Agency

Designers/Manufacturers of Record:
Site Planning and Landscape Architecture: TBG Partners
General Contractor: The Beck Group
Architect: Eckols & Associates
Greenroof System: American Hydrotech
The Ronald McDonald House greenroofAerial view showing the green roofs!Play areas at ground level
The new Ronald McDonald House of Austin and Central Texas, which is the first ?green? Ronald McDonald House in the world, has achieved another milestone ? has received LEED-platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. It is the first building in the city of Austin and the third in the state of Texas to be built to LEED-Platinum standards, which is the highest level of sustainable building in the United States. The 28,500-square-foot Ronald McDonald House, which opened in December 2007, provides nurturing programs and a supportive home-like environment where families stay together while their children receive treatment in Austin-area medical centers. Austin-based TBG, Texas? largest landscape architecture and planning firm, provided sustainable design, site planning and landscape architectural services for the four-story facility, all in a style that promotes sustainability, creates a soothing and welcoming atmosphere, and provides comfort to families.

Built on a brownfield site adjacent to another TBG project - the new $200 million Dell Children's Medical Center of Central Texas - the House has 30 guest rooms, multi-use common areas and administrative offices. Also included in the design are various passive and active spaces such as butterfly and rooftop gardens, a children?s playground and a picnic area, which allow for reflection, relaxation and distraction for House patients. TBG?s design also incorporated three Hydrotech green roof systems, all of which contain native, drought-tolerant plant species that reflect the natural setting of the Texas Hill Country. These green roofs combine with the use of high albedo concrete to reduce heat island effect throughout the site.
Photos Courtesy Cooper Smith Agency
The House also has a 10.8 kilowatt (kW) solar array on the rooftop, which was donated and funded by Green Mountain Energy Company and Austin Energy. Consisting of 54 photovoltaic solar panels and covering nearly 950 square feet of roof space, the array will power at least half of the rooms in the House with solar energy. It will also minimize emission of harmful greenhouse gases, offsetting more than 30,000 pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2) annually, which removes the CO2 equivalent of driving more than 33,000 miles. This integrated solar array makes it the first solar-powered Ronald McDonald House in the world.

Still further, the project?s exemplary execution creates a unique opportunity to educate industry professionals, patients and their families about the details of the site?s sustainable design while reinforcing the significance and encouraging the use of green building practices. A comprehensive user-education program will help House guests appreciate and make the best use of their new green home and site. In addition, there is an educational kiosk within the House that explains how the solar array works and how it contributes to the building's energy efficiency.

Additional thumbnail photos:

The exterior and childrens' play area; Photos Courtesy Cooper Smith AgencyPhotos Courtesy Cooper Smith AgencyPhotos Courtesy Cooper Smith Agency
See the Press Release of 5.27.08 "The New Ronald McDonald House of Austin Awarded LEED-Platinum Certification" here; it also includes all of the sustainable principles and design elements which qualified the House for LEED-platinum certification. Since 1985, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Austin and Central Texas (RMHC-ACT) has provided services to thousands of families whose children are seeking treatment at Austin-area hospitals. For more information or to donate to the capital campaign, please visit For more information on TBG, please visit
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