Healthcare system saves $2M annually though energy efficiency.

“Six years ago, Wisconsin’s Gundersen Healthcare System set a goal to reduce energy consumption and rely more on renewable energy. On October 14, Gundersen, which makes up a network of hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes and other health facilities, did more than reach that goal — it successfully produced more energy than it consumed, a milestone it’s kept up every day since the 14th.

The health system, which is the first of its kind to become fully energy independent, announced the success of its environmental and efficiency efforts on Monday. In its quest to achieve energy independence, Gundersen has saved nearly $2 million each year from energy conservation and efficiency efforts.

Reaching energy independence isn’t easy for any building, but it’s especially challenging for hospitals, which can use up to two and a half times as much energy as commercial buildings, due to high tech machinery that often needs to be kept on 24-hours a day.

“We did not set out to be the greenest health system,” Gundersen CEO Jeff Thompson said in a statement. “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 relied on savings and government grants to complete its sustainability projects, and according to Jeff Rich, executive director of Gundersen’s environmental program, the health system only invested in projects that were “two-sided green — green for the environment and green for finances.”

Energy initiatives:

Solar PV, Biomass bioler, Waste reduction, Cogeneration, Methane Gas from Landfill

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