Author Topic: HUMC Rooftop Garden  (Read 5848 times)

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HUMC Rooftop Garden
« on: June 07, 2011, 09:43:46 PM »
Rooftop garden offers cancer patients respite from treatment at Hackensack University Medical Center
Tuesday, June 7, 2011    Last updated: Tuesday June 7, 2011, 9:49 AM
BY BARBARA WILLIAMS
STAFF WRITER
The Record



For just a moment, patients can forget they're in a cancer center.


'Green roof' specialist Robert Schucker of R&S Landscaping in Midland Park working on the garden at the John Theurer Cancer Center at Hackensack University Medical Center.
THOMAS E. FRANKLIN/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

The Manhattan skyline offers a spectacular background for lush boxwoods, vibrant flowers, and the herbs and vegetables growing in the rooftop garden at the John Theurer Cancer Center at the Hackensack University Medical Center.

The garden, outside a glass wall on the second floor, offers patients and family members a brief respite from the rigors and boredom of treatment.

"Seeing growing plants is rejuvenating for human beings," said Dr. Andre Goy, chairman and medical director of the center. "This gives patients a chance to see something positive, to remind them there's life around them."

The 7,000-square-foot garden, built by Robert Schucker from R&S Landscaping in Midland Park, grows just outside the windows where patients sit in recliners for chemotherapy treatments. It is a green project that not only enriches the emotional, spiritual and mental health of patients but helps protect the environment, hospital officials say.

The plants are rooted in a combination of lava and expanded shale that needs little watering. They are in 2-foot trays that can be picked up and replaced. Insulation spread under these planters and the white concrete stones that form the sitting area will expand the life of the roof, Schucker said.

"This was an extremely challenging job because of the space but very rewarding, especially when I was able to see patients and their families enjoying it," Schucker said. "Green roofs and rooftop gardens can be used in many applications on many different types of buildings we just finished one on a residential home in Bergen County."

Schucker said a rooftop garden costs between $15 and $30 a square foot. The hospital site was particularly challenging because the birch trees in massive planters and some of the other greenery had to be brought up by crane.

On Tuesday morning, Dawn Masterson stood by the railing taking in the view of the Manhattan skyline. She was preparing to take her husband, Michael, to their Budd Lake home after a 12-day stay in Hackensack while he received his second stem cell transplant.

"It's very soothing to be up here and just look out at the city," Masterson said. "It's great to get away from the medical environment with all the machines beeping and people talking. Yesterday my husband was able to come out here with me and he thought it was wonderful."

In addition to the flowers and trees, the rooftop oasis also holds vegetable and herb plants, which will be plucked when ready and used in the center's kitchen classes for patients and their families.

"Cancer patients want desperately to get back to their lives and the garden is part of our mission to help people do that," said Dr. Andrew Pecora, chief innovations officer and vice president of cancer services. "The cooking classes help people learn about healthier diets. All of these pieces are part of the environment we offer where we look at the entire person."

E-mail: williamsb@northjersey.com



Offline hankmc

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Re: HUMC Rooftop Garden
« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2011, 03:36:03 PM »
I enjoyed the roof top garden in the main building of HUMC when I was in for three separate week long chemo treatments in May of 2004.

A great place to drag your IV stand and the daily paper to get some Sun and fresh air along with a more positive attitude than was usually available "inside".

Smokers still able to breathe also took advantage of the great outdoors but stayed in an area that was away from the general population. Being a reformed smoker I had sympathy for them but also took pleasure in having quit since smoking in the hospital garden seemed to me to be like drinking at an AA meeting.   

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Re: HUMC Rooftop Garden
« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2011, 03:51:44 PM »
Hank, you made me laugh.  I quit about 5 years ago.  The thing I missed almost as much as the nicotine was just going "outside".

The Riverkeeper is exploring a green roof for their Main Street building.  I'd really like to see this happen as it may serve as a "model" for what is possible in a rehabilitated downtown. 

Offline hankmc

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Re: HUMC Rooftop Garden
« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2011, 04:13:23 PM »
With the gov't.s determination to tax smokers into oblivion it will not be too long before the outside smoke break crowds are severely thinned and a more common sight will be a lone smoker or two trying to convince curious onlookers that "yes they are enjoying themselves" and "no, fifteen dollars for a pack of butts is not really that much". The end of an era.


Offline Homer Jones

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Re: HUMC Rooftop Garden
« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2011, 04:31:29 PM »
I gave 'em up when someone told me how much money I was wasting by putting 35 cents into a cigarette machine for a pack of Marlboros. But then again, I had just finished off a fifteen cent Bud.

Offline BLeafe

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Re: HUMC Rooftop Garden
« Reply #5 on: June 08, 2011, 05:00:26 PM »
I was a pack-and-a-half a day Marlboro Man, but gave them up in 1971. I got in a bit of trouble and swore to God I'd give them up if I got out of it.

The rabbit didn't die, so I smoked the last one in the pack, went to bed, got up the next morning and haven't had one since. I felt the urge about 6 months later, but resisted it and it's been smooth sailing ever since.


Long before I lived here, there was a rooftop garden in the penthouse section of the roof. There's still a water spigot for a hose, but nothing to water but tar.

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Offline hankmc

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Re: HUMC Rooftop Garden
« Reply #6 on: June 09, 2011, 09:08:27 AM »
I was also smoking about a pack and a half per day but of Marlboro Lights..."the healthier cigarette".

My crutch was the patch which worked well, my incentive was finding that I had a cancerous tumor at the rear of my tongue. 

I felt ridiculous filling out forms at a doctor's office and having to answer yes to the Do You Smoke? question. It may as well have asked Are You Stupid?

Being you have a water supply all you need are some railroad ties and a few bags of dirt and you can be an urban farmer. Many photo opportunities there.   

Offline Homer Jones

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Re: HUMC Rooftop Garden
« Reply #7 on: June 09, 2011, 10:11:33 AM »
Mayor Bloomberg ought to use your story in his give up smoking campaign. Short and to the point.

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Re: HUMC Rooftop Garden
« Reply #8 on: February 27, 2012, 11:18:21 AM »
Hospital continues green commitment
Thursday, February 23, 2012
BY MARY JO LAYTON
STAFF WRITER
The Record

Hackensack University Medical Center increased its commitment to "going green" Thursday by signing an agreement with the federal government to reduce air pollution and the use of plastic, and to increase recycling and other environmentally friendly practices.

Hackensack becomes the fifth hospital in the Environmental Protection Agencys Region 2 to sign a memorandum of understanding, which includes reducing energy consumption by 10 percent, installing water-conserving equipment, completing the medical centers 7,000-square-foot green roof and garden and other initiatives.

Hackensack has already made major steps toward green construction and operations: the Womens and Childrens Hospitals design, energy system and cleaning supplies are environmentally friendly earning the facility an award as one of Americas top 10 green hospitals.

The John Theurer Cancer Center, unveiled in 2010, has a green roof, green garden and a "Living Wall" made up of more than 30 plant species that break down indoor air contaminants. The Deirdre Imus Environmental Health Center is an award-winning program, which developed "Greening the Cleaning" to ensure products used throughout the hospitals 14 buildings are non-toxic.

A leader

"Hackensack University Medical Center continues to distinguish itself as an environmental leader in New Jersey and beyond," said Judith A. Enck, administrator of EPAs Region 2, which includes New York and New Jersey. "The commitments they are making today will help create a healthier environment for their patients, staff and community."

The EPA has developed partnerships to aid hospitals, colleges, retail and other businesses in becoming more environmentally friendly, because buildings are responsible for 40 percent of the nations energy consumption and 40 percent of carbon dioxide emissions. In the past three years, the program has saved more than 1 million metric tons of greenhouse gases or what amounts to a train of coal 45 miles long, said Andrew J. Bellina, senior policy adviser for EPAs Region 2.

Bayonne Medical Center; Kean, Monmouth, Montclair State, and Rutgers universities; and Hartz Mountain Industries Inc. have all signed the agreements with the EPA.

Email: layton@northjersey.com

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Re: HUMC Rooftop Garden
« Reply #9 on: January 28, 2013, 11:43:49 AM »
Could low-cost options reduce flooding from Passaic, Hackensack rivers?
Sunday January 27, 2013, 11:20 PM
BY  JAMES M. ONEILL
STAFF WRITER
The Record

In the decades-old debate over how to reduce chronic flooding along the Passaic and Hackensack rivers, proposals have often involved huge, expensive infrastructure projects, such as a larger sewers or a $2.7 billion tunnel to carry the water out to sea. Now, there is a growing push for radically different, lower-cost alternatives planting gardens on rooftops, installing grassy swales or depressions in highway medians and parking lots, adding rain gardens on front lawns and attaching rain barrels to residential gutters.


DON SMITH /STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

Hackensack University Medical Center Jo Ann Saffioti walking on the hospital roof, where gardens absorb rainwater and slowly release it.

These varying strategies, collectively called green infrastructure, are all designed to do the same thing capture rainwater before it ever reaches the storm drains, reducing the risk of flooding.

While many environmental initiatives are inherently controversial because they look to prohibit development or limit growth, there are generally few vocal opponents of green infrastructure. The principal obstacle remains the upfront cost to individual homeowners or developers who might consider embracing the strategy.

Proponents say those costs often cause people to overlook real long-term savings, since green roofs can better insulate a building, making it more energy-efficient, and the captured water can be used to irrigate lawns and run toilets, cutting operational costs. Green infrastructure can also increase property values and lower the huge costs many communities face to upgrade or replace aging sewer and water infrastructure.

Advocates say the obstacles of upfront costs can be alleviated by creative use of incentives, such as rebates and tax breaks.

Examples of green infrastructure have already sprung up in North Jersey. A green roof sprawls across the top of a parking garage in Fort Lee and another sits atop a cancer center at Hackensack University Medical Center. Despite the chronic flooding that has ravaged the state, however, New Jersey lags well behind many urban areas that have embraced green infrastructure, such as Philadelphia, Chicago and New York City.

Its something that would make a real difference in a place like Bergen County, said William Weiss, whose Paramus landscaping company has installed green roofs on urban high-rises in the metropolitan area. If office buildings had roof gardens to capture rainwater, it would reduce runoff and reduce consumption of treated drinking water.

Because green infrastructure projects are by nature small in scale, no single project will eliminate flooding. But if used widely picture green roofs on thousands of the flat-roofed buildings across the region, rain barrels and rain gardens on thousands of suburban properties, and swales along major roads and mall parking lots these projects can certainly help reduce the extent of floods during heavy rains, experts say.

They will also cut down on the 23 billion gallons of raw sewage that spills into the states rivers and bays each year when old sewer systems become overwhelmed during heavy rains.

For instance, in New York City, officials estimate that widespread use of the strategy over the next two decades can cut sewer overflows nearly in half. In Chicago, green infrastructure projects in 2009 diverted more than 70 million gallons of storm water from the citys combined sewer overflow system. New Jerseys Department of Environmental Protection estimates that widespread use of green infrastructure could remove 10 percent of the storm runoff that overwhelms old sewer systems and contributes to discharges of raw sewage into rivers and bays. A single green roof can capture up to 70 percent of the rainwater that falls on a building, experts say.

We have to start doing things differently in how we build, said Assemblywoman Connie Wagner, D-Paramus, who has sponsored legislation to promote green roof projects. If we dont, we will continue to have floods. Weve got way too much concrete here.

And while North Jerseys concerns grow about maintaining a reliable water supply in light of increasing consumption, green infrastructure provides an extra source of water for non-drinking purposes, from lawn irrigation to filling toilets in offices.

People tend to see the environment as the enemy of construction, Wagner said. But we need to see the environment as a partner with construction.

Just across the Hudson, New York City is at the forefront of the green infrastructure movement. Mayor Michael Bloombergs plan argues that over 20 years, green infrastructure can reduce the citys sewer overflows currently about 30 billion gallons a year to about 18 billion gallons. Thats actually better than the city believes it could achieve with improvements to the sewer systems.

The city has been adding trees along roads, as well as swales and green roofs. It is developing several dozen demonstration projects, from porous pavement for parking lots and roadways to wetlands in parks that can hold water. The plan includes designing storm water controls into all roadway reconstruction and other public infrastructure projects.

Advocates say New Jersey, particularly the heavily developed and flood-prone areas in Bergen and Passaic counties, could benefit from similar planning. They are frustrated that the region has not followed Bloombergs lead. In New Jersey theres no driving force right now. No hammer, said Chris Obropta, a Rutgers University water resources expert who has built rain gardens in New Jersey. And there are all these impervious surfaces.

Elsewhere in the nation, communities have made zoning laws more flexible to encourage green roofs. A developer might be allowed to increase a buildings size, for instance, if a green roof is included. Some states and cities have also begun to offer tax rebates for such projects. Thats not yet the case in New Jersey.

In New Jersey we still are, unfortunately, a reactionary state and only do things when the government tells us we have to, said Robin Dougherty, executive director of the Greater Newark Conservancy, which has installed several green infrastructure projects.

Pressure from the federal Environmental Protection Agency to reduce sewer overflows may get New Jersey moving toward green projects. In a new permit process for sewers, the state plans to strongly encourage the implementation of green infrastructure, said Michelle Siekerka, the Department of Environmental Protections assistant commissioner for water management.

The Assembly bill sponsored by Wagner and Assemblyman Ruben Ramos, D-Hoboken, directs the state to develop construction code rules for green roofs. Another bill, sponsored by Assemblymen Timothy Eustace, D-Maywood, and Benjie Wimberly, D-Paterson, would create incentives to install rainwater capture systems, making them exempt from state sales tax and providing some tax credits for the cost of the projects. The bill would also prohibit a municipality from assessing property taxes on green roofs. Both bills are still in committee.

Green infrastructure can involve something as small as the rain barrels Ed Schwartz attached to the gutters of his home in Ridgewood a few years ago. He uses whatever is collected in the barrel to water the garden an advantage in a town like Ridgewood, where the local water company usually imposes restrictions on irrigating lawns in summer.

The cost of the barrels can range from around $60 to $200. United Water, which provides drinking water to much of Bergen and Hudson counties, sells rain barrels below retail cost to promote water conservation.

Larger home projects include rain gardens, which are basically shallow depressions, about 6 to 8 inches deep, layered with pea gravel, sand and soil, and filled with native plants. A rain garden can hold water in its depression until it slowly seeps into the ground. The gardens can cost anywhere from $5 per square foot for a homeowner-installed version to as much as $25 per square foot for a professionally designed and installed garden.

Obropta and his team have installed 150 so far in Newark and Camden. Every gallon we keep out of the storm drains, its less to treat, he said.

The Greater Newark Conservancy built a rain garden for Newarks Thirteenth Avenue School that captures rainwater from several properties and stores it in an underground tank. Students use a foot-pump to draw the water up when the garden needs it. We want to be able to capture the water and not have to pay for it, Dougherty said. We also want to make sure were not contributing to the runoff problem into the Passaic.

Doughertys group is also planting trees to absorb water and prevent runoff. Urban areas like Newark are dotted with abandoned properties and oddly shaped lots too small to develop, and the soil often gets so hard that rainwater runs right into the streets and storm drains.

More elaborate green infrastructure projects include green roofs roof gardens that capture water and release it into the plants roots.

Installing green roofs can cost $10 to $30 per square foot. When Weiss put his first roof garden on a building in Hoboken in 1999, developers looked at you as if you had two heads when you suggested a roof garden, he said. They didnt want to spend any more money unless it attracted sales.

But demand has begun to grow. Weiss has built green roofs at high-rises in Fort Lee, and designed one for a new Mormon meetinghouse in Englewood. Every developer is talking about green roofs, he said.

Installing a green roof often begins with a waterproof liner, followed by a woven fabric to prevent roots from harming the roof. Above that go the drainage boxes, followed by the planting soil, which is often a pulverized shale because it is lighter than topsoil. The plants used for green roofs include sedum and prairie grasses and other varieties that can withstand dramatic weather extremes.

These are plants you would not normally see around the base of a building, Weiss said. But massed on a roof, you can create the effect of a rolling, hilly prairie.

In some cases, the water is diverted into a holding tank and used to irrigate landscaping or service a buildings toilets, lowering the water bill.

 Green roofs can capture up to 70 percent of the rain that falls on a building, said Dwight Hudgins, with R & S Landscaping in Midland Park, which installed a 7,000-square-foot green roof at the John Theurer Cancer Center at Hackensack University Medical Center. What normally goes into the gutter and out to the street gets held on the roof and then slowly released, he said.

In Ringwood, a nursing home for Franciscan priests has installed an unusual green project that can reduce the flow of treated sewage into rivers and bays.

The Holy Name Friary has its own sewage treatment system that uses no chemicals and relies on nature to break down pollutants. The sewage flows out of the building into tanks, where aeration and bacteria help break it down. Then it goes to a clarifier, where solids are pulled out. Then the effluent hits a bed of limestone, to neutralize any acidity before it flows into a tank that holds a miniature man-made swamp. Plants growing in the swamp draw nutrients out of the effluent, and straw provides the carbon needed to neutralize remaining impurities. Finally, the water flows into a pit, where ultraviolet lights kill remaining bacteria.

Sewage treatment plants normally release their treated sewage into local streams, which can exacerbate flooding when heavy rains occur. But the nursing homes system pumps whats left after treatment into the ground.

When theres a heavy rain and a flooding problem, our system doesnt add to the flow, said Donald Martindell, the friarys environmental services director.

Email: oneillj@northjersey.com

 

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