OWENSBORO, KY – The 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 the strict environmental criteria of the Audubon International Signature Program, Owensboro Health Regional Hospital also holds the distinction of being the 100th Certified Signature Sanctuary worldwide.

To become certified, Signature Program members must implement management of the property according to a site-specific Natural Resource Management Plan (NRMP) addressing 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. Receiving designation as a Certified Signature Sanctuary is contingent upon the quality and completeness of the NRMP and its implementation.

“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,” said Dr. Jeff Barber, President and CEO of Owensboro Health. “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.”

The hospital’s campus is a 157 acre tract of land located on the east side of Owensboro, Kentucky near the Ohio River. It includes a nine-story patient tower with supporting building and a five-story medical office building. The surrounding property includes 15 acres of ponds, 50 acres of grassland, trails, and other outdoor areas. Approximately 70 percent of the site remains natural, open space.

Environmental highlights of the hospital include the following:

  • Water Storage – All of the property’s ponds are interconnected to provide an even water level, and the pond nearest the hospital, “The Healing Pond”, is equipped with a well water back up that will supply the irrigation system during times of extended drought. Storm water runoff from the building is also directed to the pond to maintain irrigation water levels.
  • Wildlife Food – Flowering and fruit-bearing trees throughout the property provide food for wildlife.
  • Xeriscaping – Landscape architects planted drought-tolerant species to reduce the need for irrigation and maintenance.
  • Irrigation – By using drip irrigation is designated zones, there is a reduction in irrigation times and evaporation rates.
  • Water Conservation – All sinks and toilets utilize low-flow water-saving devices.
  • Energy Conservation – All appliances including computers and refrigerators are Energy Star rated. LED lighting reduces energy use and eliminates heat from lighting instruments, minimizing the need for extensive temperature cooling during surgeries.
  • Transportation – Bus stops at the hospital make it easily accessible by public transportation. Multiple bike racks and shower facilities encourage employees to leave their cars at home.
  • Vegetative Buffers – Tall, native grasses along the edge of water bodies help to filter the water and prevent erosion. A 20-foot “no spray zone” ensures that pesticides will be absorbed before they reach these water bodies.
  • Sustainable Materials – The building is constructed of recycled steel and Indiana limestone from nearby. The flooring is Rapidly Renewable Rubber/cork and carpet made from recycled materials. The building’s materials such as adhesives, sealants, and paints emit very little fumes.
  • No Smoking – The facility and the grounds are strictly smoke-free.

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 Richardson, Associate Director of Environmental Programs at 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.”

About Owensboro Health

Owensboro Health is a community-focused, non-profit health care system that provides innovative technology and compassionate care with the mission of healing the sick and improving the health of the communities it serves. Owensboro Health includes a 477-bed hospital, several regional clinics and diagnostic centers, wound healing centers, a cancer center, home care services, and the Healthpark (a medical-based fitness center. For more information, contact Erica Wade at (270)685-7192, erica.wade@owensborohealth.org, or visit the website at www.owensborohealth.org

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