Section: News

The Queen Goes Green


(September 22, 2015—NAPA, Calif.) This month, Queen of the Valley Medical Center entered a new, innovative phase of its water efficiency efforts when it started recycling runoff condensation from the hospital’s air handling units and reusing the water to irrigate the Fountain Courtyard garden.

The medical center has installed piping to carry the runoff water from the roof into a 3,000 gallon tank by the main hospital. The recycled water is then pumped out through the sprinkler system to irrigate the Fountain Courtyard.

“The runoff water from the condensate lines used to run into the roof drain,” said Ardy Van Winden, lead groundskeeper who conceptualized and built the project. “We’re using reclaimed water to keep this area green so our patients, staff and visitors can reflect and enjoy.”

This project is expected to save approximately 40,000 gallons of water a year. Currently in its pilot phase, The Queen has plans to expand the project to other areas of its campus in the future to reduce the amount of well water used for irrigation. The Queen has implemented other measures to reduce irrigation of its 30 acres of gardens including upgrading its irrigation system and replacing plants with drought-tolerant ones.

“We’re trying to be a good steward of the water. Roses are very hardy and we now water them once a month instead of once a week,” said Van Winden. “We’ve cut back on watering by 40 percent campus wide. I am focusing irrigation around the building where patients are looking outside their rooms and enjoy seeing color.”

On April 1, 2015 Governor Brown implemented mandatory water reductions in cities and towns across the state to reduce urban potable water usage by 25 percent through February 28, 2016. The medical center reduced its May-June water consumption 35 percent from the same period in 2014.

“By implementing engineering and mechanical best practice solutions, we are being conscientious and saving this very valuable commodity,” said Philippe Taquin, director of facility engineering and safety officer, plant maintenance.

The medical center has been at the forefront of water conservation efforts; it started taking strides to save water three years ago. Across its campus the hospital saved a total 15 million gallons of water per year compared to its 2012 consumption.

“Our engineers have been vigilant to conserve this critical resource, so we are ahead of the game,” said Philippe Taquin, director of facility engineering and safety officer, plant maintenance.

The most significant savings have been in the main hospital, which decreased water usage from 21.8 million gallons in 2012 to 17.1 million gallons in 2014. Taquin attributes these savings to a remodeling of the refrigerator systems. Recycling water from the hospital’s steam condenser reduced water consumption in the Outpatient Surgery & Procedures Building from 3.9 million gallons in 2012 to 1.6 million gallons in 2014.

In addition, the Herman Pavilion which is among the first hospitals in California to receive a Gold LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environment Design (LEED), has seen a nearly 30 percent decline in water usage after adjusting the size of its soft water tank earlier this year.

About Queen of the Valley Medical Center

Queen of the Valley Medical Center is a 211-bed, acute-care facility founded by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange. The Queen is the largest health care facility and one of the largest employers in Napa County. Services provided include a Regional Heart Center, a Regional Orthopedic Center, a Regional Cancer Center approved with commendations by the American College of Surgeons, the Peggy Herman Neuroscience Center, maternity and infant care, inpatient and outpatient minimally invasive surgery, and full-service emergency department, among many other specialty services. More information about Queen of the Valley Medical Center can be found at

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