The Great Lakes Apple Crunch

Today we celebrated the 🍎Great Lakes Great Apple Crunch !🍏

This special event helps raise awareness about eating better for our health and the environment, access and affordability of fruits and vegetables for everyone and supporting local farmers. It’s a great way to show support for the Farm to School program and Gundersen’s commitment to healthy eating. 🍎



Happy Earth Day from Envision

Mug shots

Earth Day was first celebrated more than 45 years ago, and is still celebrated on April 22nd of each year.  Rallies, conferences, outdoor activities and service projects are occurring worldwide today in observance of our planet and its protection.  Perhaps you have plans to participate!

At Gundersen, however, Earth Day is more than just a single day.

Being environmental stewards is a system-wide mission for Gundersen.  Gundersen has been nationally recognized for their innovative environmental initiatives, and is considered a leader in healthcare sustainability.  Improving the health of the communities Gundersen serves is a role taken very seriously, and is a shared responsibility of all employees at Gundersen.

One example of this is Gundersen’s current “Cut the Cup” employee challenge.  The goal of the challenge is to bring awareness to the number of disposable cups used at Gundersen, and to encourage employees to reduce their use of throw-away cups.  To participate in the challenge, employees must use reusable cups for the beverages they consume at work.  Employees are having fun with the challenge by taking creative photos of themselves using their reusable cups, and submitting them to a “show your mug” contest.  Every quarter, a prize is awarded to the employee with the most creative “mug shot”!  Check out some of the pictures below!

Are you doing anything at your workplace and/or home to support a healthy environment?  We want to hear about it!  Tell us by using the comment feature below this post.

Happy Earth Day!

Energy independence – see how we did it

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Gundersen Health System’s path to energy independence took two tracks – energy conservation and development of energy projects in cooperation with regional partners.

Watch this short video to see how Gundersen did it, project-by-project.

Students see Gundersen’s energy conservation projects in action

Biomass Gundersen Envision

Gundersen’s biomass boiler burns locally-sourced wood chips to create clean energy.

This summer’s University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) “Energy and the Earth” engaged thousands of people worldwide. However, UW students were given an opportunity to participate beyond the online forum when they visited Gundersen Health System to see Gundersen’s Envision energy conversation projects in action.

The students toured Envision’s dairy digester, biomass boiler, solar, wind, and geothermal heat pump projects, which represent Gundersen’s path to energy independence.

“It was incredible to see one organization using so many types of renewable energy,” said Anna Ostermeier. “I was impressed that so many of their initiatives were able to take off, despite the challenges. After learning about several energy technologies in the MOOC, it was interesting to see how they were put into practice.”

“They use leftover wood chips from nearby lumber mills to fuel a biomass digester and methane produced by a nearby landfill to fuel a generator,” said Brooke Marten, who is studying civil engineering. “They use what others may view as waste and turn it into useful energy. I hope other businesses follow in their footsteps.”

Gundersen reached its goal of energy independence last October and is helping other healthcare organizations realize how they too can become more energy independent.Envision speakers and consultants are available to come to you. Find out how!

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.

Let Envision help you achieve your energy goals

Whether you’re just launching your sustainability program or are ready to take it to the next level, Envision can help!

During the journey toward energy independence, the Gundersen Envision team gained valuable knowledge – knowledge that we can pass on to other organizations, like yours!

Our consulting service is aimed at helping you achieve success and avoiding costly mistakes. We can show you how developing or enhancing a portfolio of sustainability projects can help lower costs while improving the health of the communities you serve.

Our energy check-up will help you:

  • Uncover a number of quick-payback energy conservation measures in your organization.
  • Make simple changes that will result in a 10% energy savings in one year.
  • Reduce fossil fuel demand.
  • Lessen your organization’s environmental footprint.

Don’t miss the opportunity to learn directly from the team setting the standards. Contact us today to start turning your energy goals into reality.

Gundersen reaches first days of energy independence

First health system in nation to achieve this distinction

LA CROSSE WI–Gundersen Health System achieved its first days of energy independence, becoming the first health system in the nation to attain the distinction. Oct. 14, 2014 was the first day that Gundersen produced more energy than the health system consumed.

In 2008, Dr. Jeff Thompson, Gundersen CEO, set a goal for the organization to control rising energy costs and improve the health of the communities it serves. They focused on two main initiatives–reducing consumption by improving efficiency and creating cleaner energy.


“We did not set out to be the greenest health system,” says Dr. Thompson. “We set out to make the air better for our patients to breathe, control our rising energy costs and help our local economy. We believe we have made more progress on all three than anyone else in the country.”

Gundersen’s accomplishments include energy efficiency improvement of over 40% resulting in annual financial savings of nearly $2 million from conservation alone. Regional partnerships in energy creation include dairy digesters, wind turbines, and a landfill gas-to-energy initiative. Local projects also include geothermal energy and a biomass boiler. “We are keeping nearly 477,000 pounds of particulates out of the atmosphere each year,” adds Dr. Thompson.

“We set our sights on a goal that had never been achieved.  And while we are a national leader, we still have work to do,” says Jeff Rich, executive director of Envision®, Gundersen’s energy subsidiary. “We have crossed the threshold to energy independence. It’s like breaking the sound barrier. We were the first to do it and it’s pretty astounding. Our next chapter will be to turn the days into months and years.”

Producing more clean energy than they use has been a challenge and a moving target. Hospitals typically use two and a half times more energy than commercial buildings. Wisconsin has one of the most energy-intensive climates in the nation. Also, since the goal was set, expansion has occurred within Gundersen, including construction of two new hospitals (a 25 percent increase in space). “We have shown that you can be financially disciplined, improve the local economy and positively impact the environment,” adds Dr. Thompson.

To learn more about Gundersen’s sustainability efforts, visit

About Gundersen Health System

Gundersen Health System is a non-profit, comprehensive integrated healthcare network headquartered in La Crosse, Wis. Gundersen’s more than 6,000 employees serve 19 counties in western Wisconsin, southeastern Minnesota, and northeastern Iowa. Their network includes a multi-specialty group medical practice, teaching hospital, regional community clinics, regional hospital and clinic partners, behavioral health services, vision centers, pharmacies, and air and ground ambulances.