Gundersen Health System Achieves Energy Independence

Gundersen Health System, La Crosse, Wisconsin, is the first health system in the nation to offset 100 percent of their fossil fuel use with locally produced energy. Hospitals are energy intensive operations contributing eight percent of US greenhouse gas emissions; yet, Gundersen cut their energy use by 40 percent saving $2million annually. The energy they do use comes from multiple local sources including their own campus with solar PV, solar hot water, geothermal heat pumps and woody biomass boiler, the city of La Crosse landfill gas,  Dane county manure digesters, and Cashton, WI and Lewiston, MN wind farms.

Gundersen does this to promote public health in everything they do, not only through health care but in their operations. According to their CEO, Dr. Jeff Thompson, Gundersen’s “… actions are keeping nearly 477,000 pounds of particulates out of the atmosphere each year”. The byproducts of fossil fuels are known to cause cancer, liver, and kidney diseases; reproductive and respiratory issues; cardiovascular death; and stroke. View Gundersen’s infographic or read more . For technical details, see the USGBC case study.