Envision can help with building design

New Hospital const misc 20130619 17

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 envision@gundersenhealth.org for more information.

Envision can help with building design

New Hospital const misc 20130619 17

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 envision@gundersenhealth.org for more information.

Greenhouses: How they work

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Greenhouses are prefect for someone wishing to grow plants year around. But how do they work? Greenhouses are usually made of glass or plastic. Why? Because greenhouses use solar radiation to trap heat inside and the glass/plastic allows heat to enter easily into the building structure. This design helps create an artificial environment to sustain plants inside when it is too cold outside. The heat from the sun enters through the roof and warms the plants and soil inside. As the heat around the soil begins to rise it is replaced by surrounding cool air which immediately starts to warm up. This system rapidly warms the greenhouse.

In temperate climates (growing season and a dormant season in which temperatures can get below zero) additional heat sources may be needed, including heat fans. As plants absorb the energy of the sun, they do not emit it quickly but instead retain it, which is another reason why the greenhouse stays so warm. There is a chance of overheating occurring, which is why vents need to be installed near the roof to let lighter/hotter air escape and near the floor where cool air can enter. Greenhouse plants also need plenty of water. To make it easier, drip irrigation systems are commonly used, along with overhead sprinklers.

Greenhouse sizes vary. The larger the greenhouse, the more expensive it will be. Greenhouses can be purchased or built. Building a greenhouse used to be difficult but now there are materials you can buy that are specifically designed for building a greenhouse. Keep in mind that greenhouses are also beneficial to the environment because they reduce fossil fuel use by allowing us to grow local vegetables and fruits during cold months rather than having to import them. If you would like to improve the environment and have plants and vegetables available to you year round, consider investing in a greenhouse!

Learn more at http://www.gundersenenvision.org.

Gundersen’s Envision program earns prestigious environmental award

For the eighth consecutive year, Gundersen Health System has been recognized by Practice Greenhealth for their environmental initiatives through Gundersen Envision. Gundersen was awarded with Practice Greenhealth’s most prestigious achievement award during this year’s CleanMed Conference.

During the national environmental conference for leaders in healthcare sustainability, Gundersen received the Top 25 Environmental Excellence Award, a new award in 2014, given to healthcare facilities that exemplify environmental excellence and are setting the highest standards for environmental practices in healthcare.

“Gundersen has been a leader in the healthcare sector for many years, winning Practice Greenhealth’s highest honors year after year for innovative work in sustainability,” says Lin Hill, director of awards at Practice Greenhealth. “They are unique in their renewable energy generation and have also been included in three of the new Circles of Excellence (Energy, Climate, and Green Building) which are presented for exemplary work in one area of sustainability. Gundersen excels in many other areas, including employee engagement and blue wrap reduction and reuse.”

“Being recognized as one of the top 25 healthcare systems when it comes to sustainability and environmental stewardship is a testament to our staff’s commitment to developing and maintaining sustainable programs,” says Tom Thompson, sustainability coordinator at Gundersen. “Demonstrating leadership in our community and the healthcare sector is important to us, and improving the health of our patients in the communities we serve is part of our system mission.”

Some of Gundersen’s recent notable sustainability achievements include:

  • Solid waste recycling rate of 43 percent in 2013
  • Reduced cafeteria pre-consumer food waste by more than 70 percent
  • Installed biomass boiler – 38 percent of energy independence goal
  • Dairy manure digesters installed and operating

To learn more about Gundersen’s Envision program, go to gundersenenvision.org.

 

 

         

Green roofs and rooftop gardens

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Have you ever seen a green roof before? If you haven’t, there is still a chance you might due to its growing popularity. What is a green roof? A green roof refers to a roof covered in vegetation which is planted over a waterproofing membrane. Some green roofs will include additional layers such as root barriers and irrigation and drainage systems. Green roofs could also refer to roofs using green technology such as solar thermal collectors or photovoltaic panels. What is the purpose of a green roof and why is it becoming more popular? Green roofs serve to absorb water (which prevents runoff), provide insulation, create a habitat for wild life, lower urban air temperatures, and filter pollutants in the air such as CO2. Green roofs are claimed to also reduce urban heat island effect, which is when a city or heavily populated area absorbs and traps heat. Although green roofs cost twice as much as a conventional rooftop to build, the pay back is worth the upfront cost. Why? Because green roofs last longer than conventional rooftops by protecting the membrane of the roof from the sun’s rays and weather-related elements. 

When it comes to green roofs there are two types: intensive and extensive. Intensive rooftops serve as rooftop gardens. They are thicker, support a large variety of big and small plants, and require more maintenance. They usually hold around 80-150lbs/sq. ft. Extensive green roofs are lighter, have a light layer of vegetation, and are self-sustaining (meaning they require minimal maintenance). They usually hold about 15-50lbs/sq. ft. For those planning to grow a rooftop garden, the intensive roof would be the best choice. 

Cities and homeowners around the world are realizing the benefits from green roofs. Anyone willing and ready can put a green roof on their own house or business. At Gundersen we use green technology. For example our Integrated Center for Education building (ICE House) has a white roof which helps reflect the heat of the sun away from the building, and our new hospital has an outdoor garden that serves as a healing environment for patients and visitors. Curious as to what else we do? Check out our website on sustainable design at http://www.gundersenenvision.org/building-design.

Greenhouses: How they work

Image

Greenhouses are prefect for someone wishing to grow plants year around. But how do they work? Greenhouses are usually made of glass or plastic. Why? Because greenhouses use solar radiation to trap heat inside and the glass/plastic allows heat to enter easily into the building structure. This design helps create an artificial environment to sustain plants inside when it is too cold outside. The heat from the sun enters through the roof and warms the plants and soil inside. As the heat around the soil begins to rise it is replaced by surrounding cool air which immediately starts to warm up. This system rapidly warms the greenhouse. In temperate climates (growing season and a dormant season in which temperatures can get below zero) additional heat sources may be needed, including heat fans. As plants absorb the energy of the sun, they do not emit it quickly, but instead retain it, which is another reason why the greenhouse stays so warm. There is a chance of overheating occurring, which is why vents need to be installed near the roof to let lighter/hotter air escape and near the floor where cool air can enter. Greenhouse plants also need plenty of water. To make it easier, drip irrigation systems are commonly used, along with overhead sprinklers.

Greenhouses can be both large and small depending on what you want. The larger the greenhouse, the more expensive it will be. Greenhouses can be purchased, or they can be built. Building a greenhouse used to be difficult, but now there are materials you can buy that are specifically designed for a greenhouse. Keep in mind that greenhouses are also beneficial to the environment because they reduce fossil fuel use by allowing us to grow local vegetables and fruits during cold months rather than having to import them. If you are someone who wishes to improve the environment and have plants and vegetables available to you year round, consider investing in a greenhouse!