To Your Health: The Many Benefits of Water Features in Medical Facilities

Posted in Insights -

medical facilities

Today’s medical facility developers, owners and managers are increasingly seeking new ways to provide healing, sacred spaces that simultaneously create value in healthcare facilities.

One strategy is the addition of water features and healing gardens, which deliver a connection to nature that soothes, de-stresses and promotes well-being in a myriad of ways.

As healthcare water features rise in popularity, it’s important for today’s property owners to be aware of emerging trends in the construction of these assets.

OTL was recently featured in Medical Construction & Design discussing emerging trends in healthcare water features. Below are several insights from the article, which reveal some of the most prominent trends in today’s water feature design and construction.

Invest in materials/equipment that keep patients healthy

When constructing a water feature for a medical facility or hospital, it’s essential to evaluate the materials and equipment being used to ensure that sanitary and sterile conditions are maintained.

As materials evolve, there are many new strategies that can be used to accomplish this.

For example, OTL recently completed construction of two water features at the new Cedars-Sinai healing gardens for general contractor Hensel Phelps. Part of the project included 15 water basins that were fabricated from Type 316L stainless steel – a material typically used for surgical tools. This material was specifically selected for its corrosion resistance and its reflective aesthetic properties.

Also for Cedars-Sinai, we strategically designed small bubbler nozzles for each round fountain basin. Rather than using jets that could spray water droplets into the air – risking the potential transfer of airborne pathogens – this strategy enabled our team to create a gentle ripple effect that aligned with the project vision without any water spray.

By selecting the right materials and equipment, we can maintain a sterile, safe environment while still delivering a beautiful final product.

Use lighting and sound to attract patients to the property

Today’s developers and owners are increasingly using lighting and sound to produce a sense of calm for their tenants and patients.

The aforementioned Cedars-Sinai fountains OTL constructed include individually controlled RGB lights that provide a soothing nighttime effect. Based on color psychology studies that have proven that cool tones are more calming, our designers programmed these lights to slowly cycle through a range of soft and cool tones (blues and greens) rather than more energetic tones (reds, oranges or yellows).

To complete the experience, we also focus on sounds, which in the healthcare sector are evolving toward quieter features with subtle audible qualities – similar to a babbling brook.

By lowering the flow rates, we can create small movements that produce quiet sounds to be enjoyed up close. This deepens each visitor’s connection to the garden or water feature, giving them a sense of relaxation that promotes repeat visits.

Create energy efficiency through sustainable construction strategies

Project owners and developers of all commercial property types are seeking energy-efficient building solutions that deliver both sustainability and cost savings. Owners of medical facilities and hospitals are no exception.

Sustainable design is a standard in the water features that OTL designs and constructs, including energy-efficient LED lighting, variable-frequency drives that minimize resource consumption, filtration and residual chemical sanitizers such as chlorine or bromine that keep water clean and clear, as well as UV sterilization.

These solutions conserve resources and reduce long-term operating costs for medical facility owners and managers – all supporting a stronger bottom line and a more environmentally-friendly property.

As medical facilities and hospitals continue to harness the power of garden environments for healing, the industry will increasingly demand water features to attract tenants and patients, while deepening overall asset value.

By selecting the right materials and equipment, strategically using lighting and sound to produce a sense of calm, and utilizing sustainable, energy-efficient solutions, today’s developers and owners can stay ahead of the curve when it comes to their water feature design and construction.