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A speck of green in a sea of gray: Genesis East Medical Center wants to expand its green roof

Since 2010, around 50 patient rooms at Genesis East Hospital have overlooked a rooftop garden. Now, the hospital wants to build a second green roof.

DAVENPORT, Iowa — Up on the rooftop of Genesis East Medical Center in Davenport, there's a speck of green in a sea of gray concrete. In 2010, the hospital built a 4,686 square-foot green roof on the third floor of one of its towers. 

Dr. Joe Lohmuller, a general surgeon at Genesis, helped spearhead the project after he noticed a new Intensive Care Unit blocked off patients' views of the neighborhood.

"I was talking with a patient and her family about the fact that she had a cancer we could not resect for a cure, and we knew that eventually, it would be terminal cancer," Lohmuller said. "It was a rainy November day. And this was a very drab and dreary environment, not that the environment itself would change what I was telling them, but certainly, it didn't create a very good environment at all. And I decided that something kind of had to be done."

There are about 50 patient rooms on the third, fourth and fifth floors that overlook the green roof, which has been a popular addition, Lohmuller said.

"We actually have patients who get put in a room that looks out on a roof, because we don't have green roofs everywhere, and they say I want to move, don't put me in this room, I want to go to a room with the garden view," he said.

Lohmuller added that the green roof creates a good environment for patients to heal in.

"There's pretty good evidence in the medical literature that the environment in which patients heal makes a difference in their outcome," he said. "If they see a pleasant view, as opposed to an industrial or drab view, that it actually enhances their perspective on how they're doing, and helps them recover faster with a more positive mental attitude."

The green roof also helps insulate the building during the summer and winter months.

Now, Genesis wants to expand the green roof to one of its newer towers that was built in 2017. The tower was built with the green roof in mind, so Lohmuller said fewer modifications will have to be made to it.

The hospital is currently fundraising for the new green roof which is projected to cost around $250,000. The Genesis Foundation Adler Fund will match gifts 100% up to $125,000.

If you would like to donate to the project, one of the best ways to do so is by texting the word 'greenroof' to 41444. All donations are tax-deductible. For additional information, go to www.genesishealth.com/greenroof.

Construction will begin in the fall.

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