Green Roofs to Benefit Hospital Patients

Related Story

COLUMBIA -  Construction on top of the new Ellis Fischel Cancer Center is about more than just going green; it also benefits those who spend time in the facility.

Green roofs will top the new center to help the environment and provide patients with a better view.

The roofs will "give the illusion of being a lawn without having the required maintenance that a lawn normally has," said University of Missouri Director of Landscaping Pete Millier.

Normally, green roofs benefit the environment by working as insulators to lower heat and cooling costs in homes, drain storm water runoff better and filter the air.  But in this case, Millier says the biggest benefit isn't really something you can measure.

"Where these green roofs and where they will be seen is the biggest benefit to the patients that go into the new Ellis Fischel Cancer Center. Folks are there, probably for some very tough treatments. They're undergoing treatment for cancer. Getting ready to undergo that regimen, that treatment, they'll get to look out and see something that's alive. You won't just see a roof with mechanical equipment, and vents and things like that. You'll see plants growing, and I think that's a very life-affirming view," Millier said.

Dr. Paul Dale, a surgical oncologist at Ellis Fischel said he believes the new roofs, along with an additional healing garden that will be in the new building, will be good for both the patients and the staff.

"Being able to see those sights has to be better than just looking at concrete and bricks," said Dale.

"It's great, because hospitals used to be all about just being a cold, sterile environment, because that's how they practiced medicine. And now? It's about healing," said Millier.

There will be three green roofs on the finished patient care tower. Crews began installing the roofs last Thursday.

Landscape officials say they should be fully grown in about a month. The new patient care tower is scheduled to open in the springtime.