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The University of Kansas Health System ranked nationally in 8 specialties on U.S. News & World Report's 2017-18 Best Hospitals List

Roofs of Green: New Tower's Therapeutic Views

Published: 10/26/2017

The temporary green roof on top of a loading dock on the west side of Cambridge Tower A
A loading dock on the west side of Cambridge Tower A sports a roof of shrubs and plants (seen here being planted in late October).

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Cambridge Tower A boasts all the modern amenities a spanking new urban hospital could feature. Serving as a counterbalance to the gleaming steel and glass, however, are some impressive green spaces with therapeutic effects.

The spaces include:

  • The Mark and Candice Uhlig Green Roof on top of the third floor
  • The Regnier Family Foundation Garden Terrace outdoor dining space
  • A green roof on top of the loading dock

Studies have shown that a view from a hospital room overlooking green spaces has more of a healing effect than a view of a concrete wall or mechanical rooftop. Patients who gaze upon green space spend less time in the hospital, are generally happier with their care and require less pain-relieving medication.

The Uhlig green roof is viewable to patients looking out the windows of fifth, sixth and seventh floors on the tower's east side. Though not directly accessible, it serves as a calming visual sanctuary for relaxation and stress relief.

Staff, visitors and patients will also benefit from the Regnier Family space, located just off the D&G Café on 39th on the tower's first floor. Low shrubs and ornamental grasses are adjacent to outdoor seating and viewable from the inside dining room and the street.

The loading dock's rooftop green space conceals utility equipment and features colorful vegetation, prairie grasses and Kansas wildflowers. Located on the tower's west side, this space is temporary and will be removed when further expansion takes place.

Beyond the aesthetics and healing benefits, green spaces are good for the environment. Green roofs reduce direct heat load and energy required to cool the building by absorbing sunlight and reducing glare and secondary heat to patient rooms.

The vegetation also soaks up much of the rain water falling on the roof, which reduces the amount of water running into storm sewer drains. And plantings produce oxygen that helps clean the air.

Plant material is placed in elevated removeable trays on pedestals. The trays minimize the risk of potential ceiling leaks, offer good drainage and easy access to the roof. An irrigation system will help keep the low-maintenance plantings thriving.

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