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Landscaping and Environmentally Friendly Features

From the lush landscaping to the healing pond to the interior gardens, the new hospital will be something to see.

But this is not just another pretty space.

Audubon Affiliation

The new hospital is registered as a member of the Audubon International Signature Program – the only hospital in the world to achieve this designation. Audubon International is a non-profit environmental organization dedicated to educating, assisting and inspiring people to protect and sustain natural resources.

“We want to be eco-friendly and a good steward of the environment,” said Andy Hutchinson, landscape supervisor for Owensboro Health. “Audubon will help guide our efforts while implementing a Natural Resource Management Plan, and for example, will help us in our water conservation efforts.”

1,000 Trees

More than 1,000 trees have been planted on the 160-acre campus since July 2010, according to David Carter, senior consultant for KLMK Group. Other plantings are abundant, not only on the grounds but inside the building with two courtyards and a rooftop garden outside the Mother/Baby rooms.

The new hospital is being constructed according to LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, principles. As an internationally recognized mark of excellence, LEED provides a framework for green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions.

Healing, Soothing Environment for Patients

The splendor of the new campus will be a welcomed sight for patients, visitors and Mother Nature.

The healing pond will be distinctive feature, a soothing spot that people will see as they enter the hospital, look out the windows of patient rooms or walk by on the fitness trail. What they won’t notice is the healing pond is part of an elaborate system that will prevent flooding and provide irrigation.

Smart Drainage System

All of the ponds on the site are connected through underground pipes. During heavy rains, the ponds will store water. In dry weather, the ponds will provide water for irrigation.

The rooftop garden is an engineering marvel. Underneath the soil is a system of pipes and drains. Excess water will go through the soil into the roof drains and into the healing pond. Drainage from the courtyards, the largest outside the main lobby, also will go into the pond system. And when those areas need water, the healing pond will provide it.

Sensors are built into the landscaped areas, so the system will automatically know when irrigation is needed. The system is efficient as well as environmental and will result in utility savings.

Low-Maintenance Grass

The manicured areas will have special grass that doesn’t require mowing as frequently as common grasses. The campus perimeter will be naturalized with low-maintenance plantings. The use of chemicals will be limited, according to Audubon’s guidelines.

Next Steps

Created 20 years ago, Audubon’s Signature Program was designed for projects in the planning and development stages. The goal is to promote sound land management practices. To date, 92 projects worldwide have achieved certification. The new hospital is the only Signature site in Kentucky.

“Through this program we work with landowners from the design stages through construction and then assist in establishing a maintenance program that focuses on sustainability,” said Nancy Richardson, Signature Program director.

Based on the environmental framework provided by Audubon, members must design and implement a Natural Resource Management Plan by addressing the following issues: wildlife conservation and habitat enhancement, water quality monitoring and management, integrated pest management, water conservation, energy efficiency and waste management.

Owensboro Health is working diligently toward the designation of Certified Signature Sanctuary, which is contingent upon the quality and completeness of the management plan and its implementation. Hutchinson said the Owensboro Health hopes to have that certification in time for Earth Day, April 22, 2012.