Lower your summer energy bill

Window

Open windows
On cooler days and nights, turn off your air conditioner and open your windows. Use a fan; it does not use as much electricity as an air conditioning compressor.

Use ceiling fans to cool your house
The most efficient ceiling fans cost as little as 30 cents a month if used eight hours a day. A  window air conditioner can cost 50 times as much as a fan. Ceiling fans will keep the air moving and allow you to keep the thermostat setting higher because moving air feels cooler.

Provide shading for your air conditioning condenser
Your central air conditioner condenser works more efficiently in a cooler environment. Provide shade around your air conditioner to reduce your cooling costs by nearly 3 percent.

Dry a load of laundry on the clothesline
Thirty years ago most clothes were dried outside on the line. Your electric dryer is a large energy user and consumes about 30 cents of electricity per load. During nice weather, try drying some loads the old fashioned way – on the clothesline. It also has the added benefit of a fresh smell for your laundry.

Utilize moisture sensing technology on your electric dryer
Most new electric dryers have sensors that can detect the moisture level in your clothes and shut off the cycle when they are dry.  This saves energy costs when compared to a timed dry cycle which is likely to waste energy after clothes are dry.

Plant trees for shade
Deciduous trees—those that produce leaves in the spring and lose them in the fall—shade your house from the sun during warmer days and let the sun warm your house on cooler days. Shading your home could save up to 8 percent on cooling costs.

Change your air conditioning filter
Clean or replace your central air conditioner filter monthly during the cooling season to improve the efficiency and extend the life of the unit.

Raise your thermostat setting
You can save $25 or more each month during the summer by raising your thermostat temperature from 72 to 78 degrees.

Learn about other ways to save energy at www.gundersenenvision.org.

Walk, ride, share for cleaner air

walk ride share 2

Active commuting encourages people to get physically active on a regular basis and to reduce greenhouse emissions and traffic congestion by actively or alternatively commuting. In addition, reducing energy consumption will help prevent illness by reducing environmental factors linked to diseases (cancer, respiratory, asthma, reproductive, cardiac).

Active/alternative commuting includes:

  • Walking
  • Bicycle riding
  • Car pooling
  • Using mass transit transportation
  • Any other travel without driving yourself (rollerblading, skateboarding. Have fun and get creative.)

Safety Tips
Follow the Rules of the Road – As appropriate – obey all traffic signs, signal and watch for traffic at intersections, cross at crosswalks, do not exceed speed limit, wear seat belt at all times, ride with traffic (bike, car), walk against traffic or use sidewalk when available, use proper lane position, etc.

Wear appropriate attire to be visible and safe – As appropriate – wear helmet, protective equipment (bike, rollerblade), be visible-wear bright clothing or reflective clothing, wear lights on person or bike, wear comfortable shoes, wear seat belt (car, bus if applicable), use rain gear as appropriate-poncho, umbrella, fenders, etc.

Be alert and aware of surroundings – As appropriate – do not use ear buds or listen to loud radio, do not talk or text on cell phone, monitor surroundings for potential dangers – environmental lighting, uneven terrain, road conditions, etc.

Safety inspection of your mode of transportation – As appropriate – secure cargo, ensure proper tire inflation, ensure mechanical items in good working condition – brakes, chains, belts, lights, turn signals, etc. Shoes in good working condition (not excessively worn, protecting feet from hazards), laces secured, etc.

Champion a Walk, Ride, Share for Cleaner Air employee challenge at your work place and start making a difference today!

Learn more about reducing energy consumption and greenhouse emissions from the environmental leaders at Envision.

Summer energy-saving tips

Window

Open windows on cool days and nights
On cool days and nights, turn off your air conditioner and open your windows. A fan may also help and does not use as much electricity as an air conditioning compressor. Don’t open windows when the outside temperature is warmer than the inside of your house.

Use ceiling fans to cool your house
The most efficient ceiling fans cost as little as 30 cents a month if used eight hours a day. A  window air conditioner can cost 50 times as much as a fan. Ceiling fans will keep the air moving and allow you to keep the thermostat setting higher because moving air feels cooler.

Provide shading for your air conditioning condenser
Your central air conditioner condenser works more efficiently in a cooler environment. Provide shade around your air conditioner to reduce your cooling costs by nearly 3 percent.

Dry a load of laundry on the clothesline
Thirty years ago most clothes were dried outside on the line. Your electric dryer is a large energy user and consumes about 30 cents of electricity per load. During nice weather, try drying some loads the old fashioned way – on the clothesline. It also has the added benefit of a fresh smell for your laundry.

Utilize moisture sensing technology on your electric dryer
Most new electric dryers have sensors that can detect the moisture level in your clothes and shut off the cycle when they are dry.  This saves energy costs when compared to a timed dry cycle which is likely to waste energy after clothes are dry.

Plant trees for shade
Deciduous trees—those that produce leaves in the spring and lose them in the fall—shade your house from the sun during warmer days and let the sun warm your house on cooler days. Shading your home could save up to 8 percent on cooling costs.

Change your air conditioning filter
Clean or replace your central air conditioner filter monthly during the cooling season to improve the efficiency and extend the life of the unit.

Raise your thermostat setting
You can save $25 or more each month during the summer by raising your thermostat temperature from 72 to 78 degrees.

Learn about other ways to save energy at www.gundersenenvision.org.

Tips for living green everyday

  1. Put a stop to unsolicited mail. Sign up to opt out of pre-screened credit card offers. While you’re at it, go ahead and make sure you’re on the “do not call” list, just to make your life more peaceful.
  2. Reuse scrap paper. Print on two sides, or let your kids color on the back side of used paper.
  3. Conduct a quick energy audit of your home.
  4. Subscribe to good eco-friendly blogs (examples: Keeper of the Home, Kitchen Stewardship, Live Renewed, Simple Homemade).
  5. Before buying anything new, first check your local Craigslist or Freecycle.
  6. Support local restaurants that use food from less than 100 miles away and learn more about the benefits of eating locally.
  7. Fix leaky faucets.
  8. Make your own household cleaners.
  9. Line dry your laundry.
  10. Watch The Story of Stuff with your kids and talk about the impact your household trash has on our landfills.
  11. Learn with your kids about another country or culture, expanding your knowledge to other sides of the world.
  12. Lower the temperature on your hot water heater.
  13. Unplug unused chargers and appliances.
  14. Repurpose something. It’s fun.
  15. Collect rainwater to water your houseplants and garden.

Gundersen Health System wins Energy-Independence Enterprise of the Year Award

middleton-digester-16RENEW Wisconsin presented Gundersen Health System with the Energy-Independence Enterprise of the Year Award at its recent RENEW Energy Policy Summit held in Madison, WI.

The award is given for outstanding leadership and effective implementation of a corporate campaign to greatly reduce fossil fuel use by a large healthcare network spanning three states and 19 counties. Six years in the making, Gundersen’s significant investments in conservation, co-generation and local clean power in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa now offset 100% of the energy consumed by all of its facilities.

Awards were presented to businesses and individuals whose achievements and vision helped lift Wisconsin’s renewable energy marketplace to new heights in 2014. “The people and companies we [recognized] are making a lasting impression on Wisconsin’s renewable energy landscape,” said RENEW Wisconsin Executive Director Tyler Huebner. “We at RENEW are honored to have the opportunity to work closely with these award winners and take inspiration from their ongoing commitment to advancing clean energy here,” Huebner said.

Jeff Rich, executive director of  Envision®, Gundersen’s energy program, accepted the award on behalf of Gundersen. “We are honored to once again be acknowledged by RENEW WI with this award.  We believe that our energy program is the right thing to do to help keep healthcare affordable, reduce harmful emissions, and improve the economy of the communities we serve.  Hopefully our example can inspire other organizations and individuals to take steps toward a cleaner, more self-sufficient future,” said Jeff.

The photo above is of Envision’s dairy digester project in Middleton, WI, one of the many projects that helped Gundersen reach energy independence.

Learn about Envision’s journey to energy independence at http://www.gundersenenvision.org.

Nursing and climate change: You can make an impact

Lightbulb charge

Earlier this month Tom Thompson, Gundersen Health System’s sustainability coordinator, and Phoebe Breed, RN, Surgical and Digestive Care Unit, presented at the all RN/LPN staff meeting about Gundersen’s nursing and climate change grant.

The goal of the winning grant proposal is to apply some of the same sustainability and environmental practices nurses use at work (through the guidance of Envision) in their homes to broaden the impact Gundersen’s nurses can make on the environment.

Here are suggestions for implementation at home.

  • Unplug older appliances or use a power strip for a more convenient “turn off” option.
  • Turn off the lights when you don’t need them! One light on for eight hours each day can cost up to $20 in one year.
  • Change your light bulbs. You can save $135 in the lifetime of an LED Energy Star certified light bulb compared to incandescent light bulbs.

See how you can make a difference.

The Coulee Region

Image

Gundersen Health System is located in the Coulee Region. The Coulee Region is also known as the driftless area (untouched by the glaciers). As a result, we are surrounded by beautiful bluffs. Bluffs form along a river (in our case it is the Mississippi River). Over time, the river wears away the lower part of the river bank, which lessens the support for the upper bank, eventually causing it to break off. This forms high walls on either side of the river that also shapes the bluffs.

Today there is a push to conserve the coulee region area. Why? In recent decades the Coulee region has expanded with many farms and communities along the river. As a result, the wetlands and prairies have been converted into land that supports our population. Before people urbanized the area, the river would inundate (flood) the wetlands, which helped to filter out the water and keep it clean. Because there are few wetlands left today, the river is not filtered out as much, resulting in it being dirty. Levees, although important for preventing flooding, also prevent rivers from reaching the wetlands. Because of the large amount of farmlands in the area, many farm chemicals get into the water. This not only affects the land but it also affects the marine species.

Due to the many threats facing the coulee region area, groups are working to conserve the bluffs and the native wild life. Refugee for fish is also continuously being built to protect the marine species. If the bluffs are not protected the wildlife will suffer along with the many plants and trees that keep the environment thriving.

At Gundersen Health System we recognize the importance of protecting the environment. A healthy environment results in healthy communities. Through our Envision program we invest our time and resources in sustainability projects that will not only benefit our organization but the area around. Interested in learning about our projects? Check out our website: www.gundersenenvision.org, or better yet attend one of our sustainability series seminars!