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Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Sustainability changes pay off for Gundersen Lutheran

From an article posted on Envrionmental Leader:

When it comes to investing in energy efficiency, hospitals and health care facilities should not sit on the sidelines, because some of the low-hanging fruits offer savings that pay for themselves in as little as two to three years. . . .

Gundersen Lutheran, in La Crosse, Wis., last year conducted an audit to look for quick fixes, said Jerry Arndt, Senior Vice President of Business Services.

“The most responsible thing you can do is reduce the amount of energy you need,” Arndt said. “So we looked in-house for improvements before we looked at renewables.”

Jeff Rich, Executive Director of Gundersen Lutheran, said the best time to do an audit is on the weekend.

“We found all sorts of things that were on or running that didn’t need to be running,” Rich said. “We had 300 exhaust fans around the building, many of which can be turned off for 12 hours a day. But they were running all the time.”

As another area of improvement, the audit found that 60 percent of the hospital’s energy went toward producing steam. So the hospital replaced and repaired steam traps to improve efficiency.

The hospital also applied for grants to replace light bulbs, a move that helps achieve $280,000 in annualized saving. Grants were provided by Focus on Energy, a Wisconsin government effort, through utilities.

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