Thursday, December 9, 2010

San Diego Roof Top Garden - "Ode to Joy"

GreenScaped Buildings Installs Green Roof at Sharp Memorial Hospital

(San Diego) – Patients at Sharp Memorial Hospital will soon enjoy a natural healing boost during recovery thanks to the addition of a green roof visible from the hospital’s patient recovery rooms.

The Sharp Memorial green roof design features linear rows of plants that depict a music staff. Potted plants are placed to represent musical notes. The pattern represents the familiar melody of “Ode to Joy” from Beethoven’s 9th Symphony. The majority of the 20,000 plants in the roof are pre-grown sedum varieties grown in “tiles.”

Jim Mumford, president and owner of GreenScaped Buildings, says this green roof is the first of its kind completed at a hospital in San Diego. Green roofs have been installed on several hospitals on the East Coast, in Michigan and in Iowa.

Green roofs (or “eco-roofs”) are an engineered, lightweight roofing system that supports plants. The technology is popular in Europe, and used in some North American cities. Mumford installed San Diego’s first permitted commercial green roof on his business in Kearny Mesa in 2007.

The environmental benefits of green roofs are well known. Green roofs can prevent water pollution by reducing the amount of stormwater entering sewer systems, slowing it down and filtering it; lower energy use and energy costs; lowering air temperatures to combat the urban heat island effect; clean and oxygenate the air; add biodiversity, mitigate noise; suppress fire, and extend the lifespan of the roof.

In a health care setting, green roofs provide even more benefits. According to the American Horticultural Therapy Association, the benefits of therapeutic garden environments have been known since ancient times. In the 19th century, Dr, Benjamin Rush, the "Father of American Psychiatry," asserted that garden settings hold curative effects for people with mental illness.

Multiple studies show viewing plants and nature significantly reduces stress, aids in faster recovery, reduces the use of pain medication and even shortens hospital stays.

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