We’re very proud of the green elements of our hospital’s building design. The building was constructed using straw bale design with passive solar and natural lighting throughout the facility. Full-spectrum compact fluorescent lighting is employed for energy conservation as well as for the well-being of the pets and people in the building. Our digital radiography system eliminates the need for processing chemicals and silver recycling. Non-toxic paint and surfaces were used whenever possible to prevent off-gassing and “sick-building syndrome”. Recycling bins are incorporated for paper, plastic, and glass and the medical records are paperless. The landscaping uses native plants and rain gardens for water conservation and to attract local birds and butterflies.

Architect: Rothers Design/Build

General Contractor: HarenLaughlin Construction Co. (Won AGC Project of the Year Award in 2008 for the work they did on our building!)

Building completed: 2007

Sustainable features

  • The clinic was constructed using straw bales on the exterior walls. Not only is straw an exceptional insulator, but it also is a natural, chemical-free product that contributes to healthy indoor air quality, said Greg Rothers of Rothers Design/Build.
  • Using straw also cuts down on the use of lumber and provides a look similar to a traditional adobe building.
  • Locally grown: As a byproduct of wheat production, straw is a local, renewable resource. The more than 600 bales used on the veterinary clinic were bought from a farm in Belton.


  • The landscaping is made up of native plants with five rain gardens for storm-water retention.
  • The building has “passive solar orientation,” meaning a majority of windows face south and the overhang is designed to let the sun come into the building in the winter but keep it shaded during the summer.

Special considerations

  • The stucco on the walls protects from incidental water, but to help avoid moisture reaching the walls, a four-foot roof overhang was constructed to keep away wind-driven rain. The bottom third of the building is protected by a moisture barrier.
  • When the building was erected, Rothers said, the roof was constructed before the walls, so the straw bales were protected from any rain during construction.