Today, Eskenazi Health celebrates the 44th annual Earth Day by recognizing the brand new Sidney & Lois Eskenazi Hospital and Eskenazi Health campus, which was designed with the environment and the health of Indianapolis in mind. Built as one of the most environmentally friendly hospital campuses in the nation, Eskenazi Health was constructed using the highest environmental standards regarding transportation, water efficiency, energy efficiency, site development, construction and more.

For Eskenazi Health, creating a healthier future for the community means working beyond the walls of the hospital and health centers and beyond the biomedical model of treating disease. Environmental sustainability and supporting air, water and soil quality throughout our community are central to ensuring the long-term health of Central Indiana residents.

“When individuals are seriously ill or critically injured, we know what to do. However, we also know that our best opportunity to improve the health of our patients and, by extension, the health and vitality of our community, lies in helping individuals stay well,” said Dr. Lisa Harris, chief executive officer for Eskenazi Health. “Our entire campus is designed to promote health and well-being.”

The Sidney & Lois Eskenazi Hospital and Eskenazi Health campus opened on Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013, and is on track to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). This certification would make Eskenazi Health the first LEED Silver complete hospital campus publicly registered in the USGBC’s national database. 

“Throughout construction, we paid special attention to the environment in our use of local and recycled materials as well as how construction waste was disposed of throughout the construction process,” said Matt Gutwein, president and chief executive officer for Health & Hospital Corporation of Marion County. “This was tremendously important as we kept our footprint on the environment at the forefront of construction and design.”   

To date, 70 percent of construction waste has been diverted from landfills, 29 percent of total material used has recycled content and approximately 25 percent of the total material used has been harvested within 500 miles of the campus. 

Utilizing water-efficient appliances and other materials throughout the campus – such as low-flow and dual-flush water closets; waterless urinals; and low-flow faucets, showers and kitchen sinks – has reduced potable water usage by over 40 percent. In addition, a cistern is used to capture storm water used for irrigation purposes, therefore utilizing no potable water for this purpose, as well.

Eskenazi Health Food & Nutrition Services also utilizes Somat waste reduction technology to compost 50 percent of the food waste generated from throughout the campus. On a daily basis, the waste from 2,500 meals is composted into a 25-pound bag of soil additive, generating 200 pounds of byproduct per week. The additive is then donated to a compost farm where the product is added to fertile compost made available to the public.

The campus has also been designed with the environmentally friendly traveler in mind, featuring more than 250 bicycle storage facilities as well as 35 shower facilities for those employees who choose to ride their bikes to work. There are more than 180 preferred parking spaces both for low-emitting and fuel-efficient vehicles as well as for those who choose to carpool to work. There are also three IndyGo bus stops throughout the campus, each located within a quarter mile of the entrance to each building.

A collection of internal and external garden and outdoor spaces located throughout the Eskenazi Health campus also brings the environment and natural elements to our patients, visitors and employees. Garden spaces include the Eskenazi Health Sky Farm, a one-of-a-kind feature for a public hospital. This 5,000-square-foot edible landscape on the roof of the Eskenazi Health Outpatient Care Center offers a natural setting and access to fresh produce for patients, visitors and staff, as well as a canvas for community-supported agriculture programs. 

More than 50 varieties of vegetables, fruit, herbs and flowers are planned for the Eskenazi Health Sky Farm. Already this year, strawberries, blueberries, asparagus, radish, greens, onions, carrots and a variety of herbs have been planted, and more is being planted each day.

Eskenazi Health’s advanced efficiency and environmental design, our employee and urban gardening initiatives throughout the city, the Eskenazi Health Farmers’ Market, support for the Indy Winters Farmers’ Market and a sky farm are among many efforts to increase Eskenazi Health’s contribution toward creating a more healthful, sustainable community. Eskenazi Health plans to further expand on these initiatives with new programs and civic investments that advance its commitment to health and wellness.

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