Gundersen featured at White House summit

Gundersen Health System once again stands upon a national stage to educate others on innovative sustainability and environmental program leadership for better public health.GHS featured at White House Summit

(L-R) Kyle Tafuri, sustainability coordinator at The Deidre Imus Environmental Health Center, Hackensack University Medical Center; Gary Cohen, president/ founder of Health Care Without Harm; Rachelle Wenger, director of public policy and community advocacy, Dignity Health; Seema Wadhwa, assistant vice president of sustainability and wellness, Inova Health System; and Gundersen CEO Jeff Thompson, MD.

Jeff Thompson, MD, CEO, joined health and medical leaders, academics and other stakeholders at the White House Summit on Climate Change and Health June 23. The discussion focused “on the impacts of climate change and underscoring the important role the public health community can play in communicating and preventing these impacts.”

“By deeply following our mission of ‘health and well-being for our communities,’ healthcare can be the catalytic inspiration that proves we can simultaneously improve health, the environment, and the economy,” Dr. Thompson told the attendees of a summit breakout session on healthcare resiliency.

The first health system in the United States to achieve energy independence, Gundersen is a model for health systems nationwide. Through Gundersen Envision, the organization’s environmental program, and work with the Healthier Hospitals Initiative and Health Care Without Harm, Gundersen will continue to provide leadership and innovation for the ultimate goal of better health and a better environment for patients, their families and the communities it serves.

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Calculate your carbon footprint

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Carbon emissions calculators can help you discover your family’s carbon footprint and opportunities to reduce it and save money.  The first step in any energy management program or journey is to understand where you are starting from so you can see where your opportunities for improvement are.

Here are two carbon/greenhouse gas emissions calculators to help you get started.

The federal government’s Energy Star program is a great tool for improving your energy efficiency and saving money at home.  This website can be very helpful with tips and resources to assist you.

For other helpful resources on environmental stewardship visit Gundersen Envision’s website.

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Envision featured in Modern Healthcare article

Gundersen Health System’s Envision program was featured in an article in the June 13 issue of Modern Healthcare magazine. The article focused on the effects of climate change on health and how to reduce its impact. In it, Mark Platt, Senior Vice President of Business Operations at Gundersen was quoted as saying, “Gundersen CEO Dr. Jeffrey Thompson’s decision in 2008 to pursue renewable energy production was not universally popular at the time and the climate change message continues to get some pushback. Our CEO didn’t say he was taking on climate change, he said our mission is the health and well-being of our community, and how we produce power causes pollution and pollution causes health problems.”

In April, Gundersen joined Health Care Without Harm’s 2020 Healthcare Climate Challenge, an international effort to reduce healthcare’s carbon footprint and protect the public health from climate change.

Read the entire article.

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Gundersen Health System wins Business Friend of the Environment Award

WMC BFOE Award with Gundesen reps

The Business Friend of the Environment Awards highlight what Wisconsin companies are doing in the areas of sustainability, innovative technology and environmental stewardship. The goal of this awards program is to demonstrate to state policymakers, businesses and the public that sound environmental practices are good for Wisconsin and its business environment.

The awards were presented at the annual WMC Environmental Policy and Awards Conference at the Milwaukee Marriott West in Waukesha on Thursday, May 21, 2015. Winners are selected by an independent panel of judges representing industry, the Department of Natural Resources, the University of Wisconsin and environmental groups.

Pictured above are Gundersen representatives Alan Eber, manager, Engineering & Energy Management; Mark Platt, senior vice president, Business Services; and Corey Zarecki, director of engineering and operations, Envision, accepting the award.

Learn how you can become an environmental leader at

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Gundersen Health System receives Excellence Award for Sustainability


Gundersen Health System recently received an Excellence Award for Sustainability from VHA Inc., the national healthcare network. The Excellence Award honors Gundersen’s work in creating a comprehensive sustainability program in 2014 that reduces the environmental impact of delivering healthcare in the local community. The award was presented on Thursday, May 14, during VHA’s national Navigating to Excellence Forum, held in Las Vegas.

The photo above pictures Gundersen Operations Vice President Kraig Schuster (second from left); Gundersen Purchasing Director Lynne Dosch (middle); and Gundersen Purchasing Manager Dave Demorest (second from right) accepting the award.

To determine the VHA sustainability award winners, entries were reviewed by a panel of judges from VHA, VHA member hospitals and experts in the sustainability field. The panel reviewed submitted entries based on the following criteria:

  • Innovation
  • Expandable learnings
  • Measurable results

Gundersen was one of five VHA member hospitals who received an award for a superior sustainability program in 2014.

“Across the country, VHA member organizations are leading the development of sustainability programs that make the delivery of care more environmentally conscious and resource considerate,” said Colleen Risk, VHA executive vice president, member networks and human resources. “Their spirit and commitment to sustainability reflects VHA’s values and mission, and we are proud to recognize Gundersen’s sustainability program achievement.”

Find out more about Gundersen’s best practices in healthcare sustainability.

About VHA Inc.

Effective April 1, 2015, VHA Inc., the national healthcare network of not-for-profit hospitals, and UHC, the alliance of the nation’s leading academic medical centers, combined into a single organization. The combined organization is the largest member-owned healthcare company in the country and is dedicated to leading healthcare innovation, creating knowledge and fostering collaboration to help our members thrive. The company serves more than 5,200 health system members and affiliates as well as 118,000 non-acute healthcare customers. Members range from independent, community-based healthcare organizations to large, integrated systems and academic medical centers, and it represents more than $50 billion in annual purchasing volume. Headquarters are in Irving, Texas, with locations in Chicago and other cities across the United States.

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Gundersen receives Practice Greenhealth environmental awards

For the ninth consecutive year, Gundersen Health System has been awarded the most prestigious environmental achievement award offered by Practice Greenhealth, the nation’s leading membership and networking organization for institutions in the healthcare community that have made a commitment to sustainable, eco-friendly practices.

Practice Greenhealth’s Top 25 Environmental Excellence Award is given to healthcare facilities that exemplify environmental excellence and are setting the highest standards for environmental practices in healthcare.

Gundersen also received Circle of Excellence awards for outstanding performance in four categories:

1. Leadership Circle – The Leadership Circle represents the top performers with a strong infrastructure supporting a long term commitment to healthier environments through committee structure, reporting, data tracking, communication and education.

2. Less Waste Circle – Hospitals in this circle have excelled in waste prevention and material handling, demonstrated through high recycling rates, low regulated medical waste generation and low rates of total waste generated per patient day.

3. Energy Circle – The Energy Circle celebrates hospitals that are leading the sector in energy efficiency. Leaders generally have energy managers and written programs to reduce energy use over time. They are tracking energy use intensity, ENERGY STAR performance metrics, and share details on project implementation and staff engagement strategies.

4. Climate Circle – The Climate Circle highlights visionary hospitals taking the lead on tracking and measurement of CO2 emissions, and overall climate program development. Hospitals in this Circle demonstrate an understanding of the health impacts of climate change and are taking action to mitigate those impacts and educate their staff and communities on playing a supporting role.

Gundersen’s energy program, Envision, is leading the country in healthcare sustainability and has the data and documentation to prove its success. “Gundersen prioritizes green practices in our day-to-day operations as an organizational imperative,” said Jeff Rich, executive director of Envision. “It’s an honor to be recognized for our commitment to the health and safety of our patients, staff, environment, and the community at large.”

Gundersen’s energy team wants to help other organizations achieve similar success. Take the first step by scheduling an energy check-up, and find out how you can reduce your energy use by 10% in just one year.

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Gundersen joins global environmental challenge

It’s no secret: Gundersen Health System is a healthcare leader when it comes to sustainability programs that protect our patients and the environment. While others are just scratching the surface, Gundersen has achieved energy independence and is teaching others how to lower costs while improving the health of patients and communities.

This education extends to Gundersen’s commitment to the 2020 Health Care Climate Challenge, an international initiative from Health Care Without Harm’s Global Green and Healthy Hospitals Network. Nine leading healthcare organizations have pledged to protect public health through environmental action leading up to a United Nations conference on the environment this December in Paris.

“It is our mission to improve the health of the communities we serve, which includes taking action to improve and protect our environment, reduce our waste and lower our costs,” says Jeff Thompson, MD, CEO of Gundersen. “Not every healthcare organization makes this a priority, but we are showing it is possible to provide exceptional patient care and exceptional care for the environment.”

Along with Gundersen, initial participants in the 2020 Challenge include Kaiser Permanente, Counties Manukau Health (New Zealand), Hospital Albert Einstein and Hospital Sirio Libanes (Brazil), NHS Sustainable Development Unit (England), Virginia Mason Health System (USA), Western Cape Health System (South Africa), and Yonsei University Health System (South Korea).

Click here to learn more about Gundersen’s energy independence achievement and our sustainability programs that are attracting an international audience.

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Tips for living green everyday

  1. Plant an herb garden
  2. Switch all your lightbulbs to CFLs (or at least switch a few)
  3. Create a homemade compost bin for $15
  4. Switch one appliance to an energy efficient model (look for the “energy star” label)
  5. Use reusable bags, not disposable
  6. Buy an inexpensive reusable water bottle and stop buying plastic disposable bottles
  7. Watch The Story of Bottled Water, a short movie about the bottled water phenomena
  8. Wash laundry in cold water instead of hot
  9. Turn off lights when you leave the room
  10. Use natural light whenever possible
  11. Drive the speed limit and combine all your errands for the week in one trip (better yet, walk or ride a bike to do errands that are two miles or closer)
  12. Support your local economy and shop at your farmer’s market
  13. Turn off your computer completely at night
  14. Research whether you can sign up for green power from your utility company
  15. Pay your bills online

Learn more about environmental sustainability at

cleaner air

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Gundersen wins Amerinet Healthcare Achievement Award

Gundersen Health System’s Envision program will receive an Amerinet Healthcare Achievement Award in the category of Community Impact and Innovation for its recent achievement of energy independence.

Through this annual awards program, Amerinet, a leading national healthcare solutions organization, recognizes its members for their outstanding and innovative contributions to their patients, community and business partners in reducing healthcare costs, improving healthcare quality and serving the community.

Representatives from Gundersen will be presented with the award at a ceremony that will be held during the 2015 Amerinet Member Conference, May 17-20, in Orlando, Fla. The winning project will also be featured in a professional banner session and included in a best practices compendium.

Read the press release.

Find out how Gundersen Envision can help you achieve your energy goals.

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Envision can help with building design

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Gundersen Health System’s new hospital

When building new or remodeling existing space, sustainability opportunities exist in everything from energy efficiency and using renewable energy to building with environmentally friendly materials to recycling construction waste.

Being thoughtful from the start of design can help prevent past environmental practices from showing up in your new facility. In fact, 75 percent of a building’s life-cycle costs are committed in the design phase, so it is important to get it right the first time.

How can Gundersen Envision help you?

We can help you find the hidden sustainability opportunities that exist when designing a new building or remodeling.

Why is Gundersen Envision qualified to help you?

Gundersen Health System recently completed several major building projects on our main campus, including a new hospital. Some of our notable achievements in building design include:

  • Energy efficiency in the top 1 percent for hospitals in the Midwest.
  • Construction recycling and reuse rates exceeding 93 percent.
  • Multiple LEED-certified facilities.
  • Use of internal standards for energy efficient design on a variety of new construction and renovation project.
  • Experience with benchmarking facility performance.

More about building design

Contact Envision at for more information.

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