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.

Gundersen Health System among 50 of the greenest

green-hospitals-logo

According to Becker’s Hospital Review, Gundersen Health System is one of “50 of the Greenest Hospitals in America.”  

Becker’s recently published 2015 list features hospitals that are leading the industry in sustainable innovation, ecofriendly design and green improvements. These hospitals have won awards and earned prestige for their efforts to reduce their environmental footprint.

Becker’s review team conducted research and analyzed sustainability information from sources such as Practice Greenhealth, Healthier Hospitals Initiative, U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program and the Environmental Protection Agency, among others.

In 2008, Gundersen began making efforts toward improving efficiency and developing regional partnerships to produce renewable energy. By 2014, Gundersen became the first hospital system in the nation to achieve energy independence by producing more energy than it consumed in fossil fuels. Gundersen has multiple LEED-certified facilities, as well as construction recycling and reuse rates of more than 93 percent. Gundersen is a Practice Greenhealth Top 25 Environmental Excellence Award honoree and a member of Practice Greenhealth’s Circles of Excellence for leadership, waste reduction, energy efficiency and greenhouse gas emission tracking.

Read the press release.

Find out more about Gundersen’s energy program, Envision.

Nurse champions in environmental sustainability

All healthcare employees have a role to play in supporting initiatives within their organization to become more environmentally responsible and reduce the impact of climate change. Nurses are emerging as vital leaders in healthcare sustainability and are playing an especially important role in addressing climate change and related health issues.

Gundersen Health System’s (GHS) nursing department received one of  two-$10,000 grants awarded by Health Care Without Harm to design and develop programs to help empower its nurses and support their sustainability leadership efforts. Surgical & Digestive Care Unit Nurse Phoebe Breed played a key role in implementing Gundersen’s nursing initiative. “The question we started asking was, ‘what are the things that they’re doing every day that they don’t even realize is contributing to sustainability?’ ” Breed stated.

Gundersen’s nursing leadership program streamlines sustainability education by using existing educational frameworks. Breed said, “Using the preexisting framework as the foundation for this program really resonated with our staff because it was something that was already familiar to them. We identified and implemented resources that already worked with our culture as a communication framework.”

Read the complete story.

Find out more about Gundersen’s environmental program, Envision.

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 CEO speaking at Latin American Forum

Dr. T on wind turbine
Dr. Thompson standing atop one of Gundersen’s wind turbines in Cashton, WI.

Jeff Thompson, MD, CEO of Gundersen Health System, will bring our organization’s message of better health and well-being for our communities through sustainable environmental programs next week to an international audience.

Dr. Thompson is a featured speaker at the first Latin American Forum (1º Fórum Latino Americano de Qualidade e Segurança na Saúde), August 13-16 in São Paulo, Brazil. Through this year’s theme – “Pursuing Sustainability” – the forum brings together healthcare professionals from around the world to discuss contemporary health issues like environmental sustainability, population health and quality improvement.

Dr. Thompson will discuss Gundersen’s journey to become the first health system in the United States to achieve energy independence and the wealth of opportunities available to health systems that use environmentally and economically-sustainable business practices. He will be joined by Marcos Tucherman, manager at Albert Einstein Israelite Hospital in Sao Paulo, and Veronica Odriozola, executive director of Health Care Without Harm Latin America.

The Forum is sponsored by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) in partnership with Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein.

Find out how Gundersen achieved energy independence and simple steps you can take to become more environmentally and economically sustainable.

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.