By Roxanne Squires
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. — In April 2016, the Munson Medical Center’s Cowell Family Cancer Center opened its door to the public with the mission to provide quality medical treatment in a serene, nature-infused environment. In 2017, the advocacy group, Less Cancer, recognized the Cowell Family Cancer Center for leadership in cancer prevention efforts. Now, the center has officially hung a new plaque displaying its recently earned LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.
Cowell Family Cancer Center credits this achievement to several green features implemented throughout the facility. These features include a 3,900-square-foot green roof using succulent plants that help reduce storm water runoff, protecting the nearby Kids Creek and the quality of water. The roof was a collaboration project by the Watershed Center and the Grand Traverse Conservation District. Another vital element of the center’s construction was high-efficiency electrical and mechanical systems. Other features encouraging “smart commuting” that include covered bike racks, showers and lockers for commuters and a bus stop also played a part in the LEED certification.
Cowell Family Cancer Center’s Core Value of Stewardship
Munson Healthcare Vice President of Facilities Steve Tongue explained that stewardship is part of the company’s core values, stating that a healthy environment “is a fundamental building block of a healthy community,” according to a statement announcing the certification.
In that same statement, other sustainable efforts at Munson Healthcare were underlined. These efforts include the Paul Oliver Memorial Hospital staff in Frankfort, Mich., voting to pay 25 cents more for takeout items packaged in compostable containers made from corn; using a purple-container disposal program for pharmaceuticals to ensure that “active substances” are disposed of properly and do not contaminate the environment through the water and/or soil; and installing a new boiler plant, lighting upgrades and water conservation measures at Manistee Hospital. The estimated annual energy cost savings are more than $100,000 annually.
In addition to critical medical treatments, the center offers life-affirming health and wellness services that treat the whole body and mind to promote physical, emotional, mental and spiritual healing, according to the organization’s website. The cancer center also provides individualized supportive care, including a spa-like health and wellness suite offering services ranging from yoga to meditation and massage.