UTAH (ABC4) – As Intermountain Healthcare adopts new landscaping practices throughout their hospital locations in Utah, the organization hopes to save 17.5 million gallons of water annually. 

As of this week, Intermountain is unveiling their largest landscaping overhaul the health system has ever undertaken in an attempt to take action against Utah’s record breaking drought status. 

“For a long time, larger facilities put in a lot of water intensive grass because it was cheaper and looked nice from an aesthetic standpoint,” said Keith Pennington, landscaping supervisor for Intermountain Healthcare. “Our approach now means thinking about the impact of everything we plant before it goes into the ground and to work to help conserve as much water as possible.”

For the past several years, Intermountain has begun to implement water wise landscaping. However, the organization’s older campuses were built with more grass and non-native plants which require more water. The focus now is to renovate that landscapes of these older venues, which include:

  • Intermountain American Fork Hospital
  • Intermountain Orem Community Hospital
  • Intermountain Riverton Hospital
  • Intermountain Saratoga Springs Clinic
  • Intermountain TOSH – The Orthopedic Specialty Hospital

In the end, once these landscapes are renovated, which will include the removal of 19 acres of grass and the plantation of more than 350 trees, over $200,000 will be saved a year. 

“A major benefit of our sustainability efforts means the money we don’t use on running our facilities can go back into funding our health programs for patients and the community,” said Glen Garrick, system sustainability director for Intermountain Healthcare. “We want to be good stewards in the communities we serve, and this is another step towards that goal.”

Along with less grass coverage and more native plants, these new landscapes will feature high-tech irrigation systems.