OWENSBORO, Ky. (8/20/13) - Owensboro Health Regional Hospital has recently been designated by Audubon International as the first Certified Signature Sanctuary in the state of Kentucky as well as the first hospital in the world to achieve this certification. After completing requirements and meeting strict environmental criteria of the Audubon International Signature Program, Owensboro Health Regional Hospital also becomes the 100th Certified Signature Sanctuary in the world.
To become certified, each Signature Program member must implement management of the property according to a site-specific Natural Resource Management Plan (NRMP) addressing the following: Wildlife Conservation and Habitat Enhancement, Water Quality Monitoring and Management, Integrated Pest Management, Water Conservation, Energy Efficiency, Waste Reduction and Management, and Green Building Products and Procedures. The designation of “Certified Signature Sanctuary” is contingent upon the quality and completeness of the NRMP and its implementation. The focus of the Signature Program is to promote sound land management practices and appropriate land use changes based on sound scientific research.
Owensboro Health Regional Hospital’s campus is a 157 acre tract of land located on the East side of Owensboro near the Ohio River. The hospital includes a nine-story patient tower with supporting buildings as well as a five-story medical office building. The structures are surrounded with 15 acres of ponds, 50 acres of grasslands, 27 acres for vehicle usage, and 5.5 acres building footprint, and the remainder of acreage is in landscaping, turf, trails and outdoor areas. Approximately 70 percent of the site remains in natural open space. Because the site was disturbed prior to construction, focus for this property will be more on restoration than preservation.
“We have created a space that is not only highly functional, but one that projects an environment of healing through the beauty of nature and our surroundings. We take our responsibility to care for our region very seriously and want to respect and care for the land, just as we care for its people,” said Dr. Jeff Barber, President and CEO of Owensboro Health.
Environmental highlights of the project include the following:
•All of these ponds are interconnected to provide an even water level throughout the property. The pond nearest the hospital, the “Healing Pond”, is also equipped with a well water back up that will supply the irrigation system during times of extended drought.
•Flowering and fruit bearing trees have been dispersed throughout the property to provide food for wildlife.
•Water quality monitoring is performed in both the retention ponds and Yellow Creek to Ensure management practices are not degrading quality.
•Using xeriscaping as a landscaping practice or philosophy that takes a minimalist approach to landscape maintenance by planting species that are drought tolerant making efficient irrigation practices and reduced maintenance
•Landscapes in and around the buildings are irrigated with a drip irrigation system that is zoned separately from turfgrass areas. These drip zones result in a reduction in irrigation times and evaporation rates in landscaped areas.
•Storm water management plan includes capturing all building runoff which is drained into the “Healing Pond”, immediately behind the hospital. This pond serves as an irrigation reservoir. . By catching storm water runoff from the building, well water backup is minimized to maintain irrigation pond water levels.
•Slopes and banks along all water bodies are grassed with the majority of those being grassed in tall native grass. This grass will help to not only filter the water but will hold pond and creek banks in tact preventing erosion.
•No spray zones will be established at 20 feet wide along all water bodies. This will ensure that any pesticide applications will have adequate space to be absorbed, in the case of pesticide leaching, before it reaches any water source. Additionally all water bodies will be buffered with native grasses that will vary in height.
•The size of the project’s environmental footprint was minimized by utilizing sustainable materials such as steel building frame made of recycled steel; exterior enclosures (stone and blocks) of Indiana Limestone and from less than
500 miles away; carpeting from recycled materials; Rapidly Renewable Rubber/cork flooring; Low-Emitting Materials- adhesives, sealants, paints and carpet tile flooring system.
•All sinks and showers and toilets will utilize low flow water saving devices. The use of LED lighting eliminates the heat that is typically put off in these settings and in turn reduces the need for extensive temperature cooling during surgeries.
•All appliances in the new hospital will be Energy Star rated. This will include all small appliances such as refrigerators and computers.
•Bus stops have been installed on property to make it accessible by public transportation. Multiple bicycle racks have been installed to encourage visitors and employees to skip a car ride. Additionally for employees that opt to ride in on a bicycle, showers are provided.
•Smoke free facility and grounds.
Audubon International is proud to work with such a committed group. “The search for a more sustainable future must be more about action than mere words and must include all types of land uses,” said Nancy E. Richardson, Signature Program director for Audubon International. “Through projects like this new regional hospital and partners like Owensboro Health, we’re re-defining what it means to plan, build, and manage our human landscapes. It is sustainable eco-design and development in action.”
Audubon International created the Signature Program in 1993, certified its first Signature Sanctuary in 1994, and is celebrating its twentieth year anniversary in 2013. Owensboro Health Regional Hospital joins other certified Signature Sanctuaries in twenty-eight US states and five countries including China, Portugal, Spain, Canada and Puerto Rico.
Information provided by Erica Wade
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