Easy steps to lower your home heating costs

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If you live in an area where the autumn season brings chilly temperatures, here are some tips to help save on your heating bill.

Insulate your walls and ceilings adequately. This can save 20 to 30 percent on home heating bills. Have an inspection by a qualified technician if you’ve not looked at your insulation for quite some time. Insulation will compress and shift over time which reduces its effectiveness.

Weatherize your home or apartment, using caulk and weather stripping to plug air leaks around doors and windows. Caulking costs less than $1 per window, and weather stripping is under $10 per door.

Close drapes and window coverings at night. This will reduce the heat lost through windows. During the day, open drapes and coverings to allow the sun to radiantly heat your home.

Use Ceiling Fans to utilize heat more efficiently
Heat rises and much of the heat loss in your home is through the ceiling. Most ceiling fans have a switch to reverse their direction. As you enter the heating season, reverse the direction of your ceiling fans and set them on low. This will better mix the warm and cool air in your home and slow the rate of heat escaping through the ceiling. Ceiling fans do not use much electricity and this will result in a net energy savings.

There are several low or no cost steps that can be taken to lower the cost of heating commercial buildings. Learn more at gundersenenvision.org.

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E-waste eye openers

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The term “E-waste” is generally applied to corporate and consumer electronic equipment that are near or at the end of its immediate useful life. E-waste includes discarded or obsolete cell phones, computers, notebooks, computer game consoles and other electronic devices.

Did you know?

  • e-Waste represents 2% of America’s trash in landfills but it equals 70% of overall toxic waste.
  • A report from United Nations University (UNU) found that the world produced 41.8 million metric tons of e-waste in 2014 – an amount that would fill 1.15 million 18-wheel trucks. Lined up, those trucks would stretch from New York to Tokyo and back.
  • Large amounts of e-Waste are sent to China, India, Kenya where lower environmental standards and working conditions make processing e-Waste more profitable. It is reported that 80% of all Asian children have elevated levels of lead in their systems.
  • Health impacts from improperly disposed e-waste: i.e. nose bleeds, seizures, child development, sinus perforations
    o   Mouth, teeth, gum damage, thyroid damage
    o   High blood pressure, irregular heartbeat
    o   Lung damage, asthma, bronchitis, cancer
    o   Kidney, liver, digestive system damage, fetus neurologic damage, ulcers
    o   Skin cancer, paralysis
    o   Death
  • e-Waste in landfills releases greenhouse gases equivalent to the annual emissions of more than 178,000 cars

What is your e-Waste contribution?

For more information, contact us at www.gundersenenvision.org.

Sources
https://www.dosomething.org/us/facts/11-facts-about-e-waste
https://www.causesinternational.com/ewaste/e-waste-facts
http://www.treehugger.com/clean-technology/crazy-e-waste-statistics-explored-in-infographic.html
http://www.treehugger.com/clean-technology/e-waste-infographic.html

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. 🍎

22448250_10154822454542595_1857042983926177834_nCoulee Region Farm2School is a partnership between La Crosse County Health Department, Mayo Clinic Health System – Franciscan Healthcare, Gundersen Health System, and the School Districts of Bangor, Holmen, La Crescent-Hokah, La Crosse, Onalaska, and West Salem.

Think “reuse” when it comes to back-to-school supplies

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Most kids like the idea of buying new school supplies each year, but going back to school doesn’t have to be expensive. Before shelling out lots of dough purchasing new supplies, look at what was left over from last year. You may be surprised to find most notebooks, pencils, pens, erasers, and markers can be used again. Use paper bags, leftover wrapping paper, or even a couple layers of newspapers to make book covers.

Reusing school supplies not only saves money, it is better for the environment. Reusing results in less trash sent to the landfill. The plastic found in pens, folders, and calculators are produced with fossil fuels; fossil fuel emissions negatively impact the environment. Paper comes from trees; cutting trees on a massive scale is harmful to the environment.

So think “reuse” when it comes to this year’s school supplies. You can save money and teach your children what it means to be good stewards of their resources at the same time. If you must purchase a few new items, look for products made from recycled paper, plastic, and reclaimed materials.

Learn about other ways to save energy and money at Gundersen Envision.

Go Green at Work

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These are just a few things you can do at work that add up and make a difference:

  • Do you really need to print that document? If so print double-sided when possible
  • Use natural light when available – window shades up, lights off
  • Abandon elevators – burn calories not energy by taking the stairs instead
  • No more disposables – bring your own water bottle, plates, cups, and silverware for your meals
  • Practice using less paper towels and napkins
  • Power down your computer before leaving for the day
  • Know where your recycling options are
    –  paper
    –  plastic
    –  cans
    –  glass
    –  batteries
  • Join a carpool

Learn about more ways to “go green” at work→ gundersenenvision.org.

8 ways to clean greener

Looking for ways to “go green”? If you haven’t already, consider switching to cleaning products that are safe alternatives and not harmful to the environment. Listed below are “Do it yourself”(DIY)mixtures you can make with products you probably have on hand.

  1. Cleaning counter tops: Cut a lemon in half, dip in baking soda and use on counter top. Wipe with a wet sponge. Do not use on stainless steel or marble surfaces.
  2. Dirt or rust stains: Combine salt and lemon juice together. Apply to area.
  3. Clogs: Pour ½ cup of baking soda down clogged drain followed by ½ cup white vinegar. After about 15 minutes, flush with four cups of boiling water. For plastic pipes, use hot tap water.
  4. Windows or glass surfaces: Combine ¼ cup white vinegar, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, and 2 cups of warm water in a spray bottle. Shake well before use.
  5. Water stains: Combine baking soda and water to make a paste. Use a toothbrush to scrub the paste into the water stain. For tough stains, pour vinegar on stained area and then continue scrubbing.
  6. Freshening garbage disposals: Cut a lemon into slices and run through the disposal.
  7. Soap scum: Heat one cup of white vinegar in a microwave and combine in a spray bottle with one cup of dish detergent. Spray on soap scum and wait a minute before wiping off.
  8. Grease stains: Sprinkle cornstarch on problem spots. Let stand 20-30 minutes before vacuuming.

These are only a few easy-to-create and safe-to-use mixtures. Click here to learn more about the different type of mixtures.

Happy cleaning!

http://www.gundersenenvision.org/

Gundersen Health System on international stage

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Gundersen Health System took to an international stage again recently to share its work at the intersection of clinical care and sustainable business practices. Jeff Thompson, MD, CEO emeritus and executive advisor, presented Jan. 17 in Beijing at the International Workshop on Green and Sustainable Healthcare Systems and shared sustainability best practices with senior Chinese research and policy officials.

One key outcome of the conference was an agreement between United States-based Health Care Without Harm and other conference attendees to continue work, over the next five years, to strengthen cooperation and establish an exchange and communication mechanism between the U.S. and China on climate, including its impact on global health.

“Chinese leaders for the first time publicly admitted that 1 million Chinese die each year of air pollution and that they are a low tier country when it comes to health and the environment, ” notes Dr. Thompson. But soon, they will be a leader. Last year China put up two wind turbines–and a football field of solar panels–every hour for the whole year!”

For information on Gundersen’s sustainable best practices, visit www.gundersenenvision.org.