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Metro Health Hospital Receives “Green” Financial Support

Grand Rapids, Michigan, September 8, 2006 – The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality has awarded $400,000 to Metro Health Hospital to support a comprehensive stormwater management program at its new hospital.

The grant will help fund the installation of a 47,000-square foot green roof – the second largest in the state and the first of its kind for a health care facility. The grant will also fund the purchase and installation of "bioswales" and rain gardens in several parking lots, and monitoring systems.

Additional funding for the project will come from the Roof Consultants Institute Foundation, Metro Health Hospital and in-kind contributions from project partners. Metro Health Hospital also will undertake a study, with assistance from Sustainable Research Group consultants, to collect comparative data on the benefits of its new roof to more traditional types of roofing materials.

"We are extremely pleased to have such tremendous financial support from the DEQ," said Mike Faas, president and CEO of Metro Health. "The hospital’s ‘green roof,’ bioswales and rain gardens are progressive design features that offer a tremendous number of environmental advantages to the community while promoting healing and providing aesthetic benefits.

"Our goal is to have the new hospital stand as a model of energy efficiency and environmental stewardship. We are gratified that the DEQ, RCIF and our project partners share our vision and have committed their generous support to its realization."

Metro Health Hospital has already begun work on developing the green roof, which will feature several inches of soil and multiple varieties of grasses and plants to create a maintenance-free "carpet" on the roof of its hospital outpatient services building. The 208-patient room hospital, which is more than 60 percent complete, will overlook the outpatient services building and give patients and employees a more soothing, natural landscape than what is typically available on standard rooftops.

"We are excited to be a part of this truly innovative project," said DEQ Director Steven E. Chester. "Metro Health Hospital is to be commended for their commitment to protecting not only the health of our citizens, but of our environment."

The green roof and its accompanying stormwater management program will provide a number of environmental benefits, including:

  • Improved air and water quality
  • Reduced peak temperatures, which will save on heating and cooling costs
  • Energy-efficient insulation
  • Decreased storm-water run off, which will decrease soil and water pollution

Metro Health also plans to create 11 "bioswales" and rain gardens in the employee and patient parking lots. A bioswale is an engineered-landscape depression that utilizes soils and plants to filter pollutants from stormwater runoff. The rain gardens are bowl-shaped collections of native plants that are also designed to absorb stormwater runoff.

Monitoring systems will be installed to measure the impact of the green roof, bioswales and rain gardens on stormwater runoff and pollution. The systems will allow researchers to measure and compare the environmental benefits and economic impact of these designs features. Hospital officials say that these studies will be among the largest of their kind and should provide invaluable information to researchers, developers and others.

"Although green roofs are fairly common in Europe, and are gaining popularity in the United States, more and better research in this area is necessary to support the benefits and economic impact of these new technologies," said Carrie Knobloch, Vice President of Property and Construction Management for Metro Health.

Construction of Metro’s new hospital is on schedule. The new facility will feature all-private rooms and a wide variety of patient-centered and environmentally conscientious design elements designed to improve the healing process, reduce the length of patient stays and lower the costs of health care.

Metro Health Hospital is seeking Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, certification for its new hospital, which will make it the first hospital in Michigan – and one of only a handful in the country – to be so recognized. The hospital is also requiring that all occupants of the adjacent 170-acre Metro Health Village be LEED certified.

About Metro Health Hospital

Metro Health Hospital is a 238-bed general acute care osteopathic teaching hospital that serves more than 130,000 patients in Kent and surrounding counties. Metro Health offers a board range of services, including inpatient and outpatient services, emergency, surgery, intensive care, rehabilitation, wellness and community education.

About Metro Health Hospital Foundation The Metro Health Hospital Foundation is a charitable organization dedicated to inspiring philanthropic support to improve the health and well-being of the West Michigan community. The Foundation’s support of Metro Health Hospital allows individuals, organizations and businesses to contribute funds that prevent catastrophic illnesses, provide life-saving education and screenings, improve overall patient care and fund a wide variety of programs and services.


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