Gundersen Health System | Achieving Energy Efficiency and Cost Savings

As a comprehensive healthcare network with facilities in western Wisconsin, northeastern Iowa and southeastern Minnesota, Gundersen Health System cares for patients in 19 counties, Not including campus growth, Gundersen's energy costs were increasing at more than $350,000 annually  in 2007 making energy reduction a priority. To meet their goal of being 100 percentenergy independent, meaning they produce as much renewable energy as they use, Gundersen uses energy-saving practices along with energy-efficient equipment, medical technologies, office supplies and building materials to improve the performance of their facilities.

  • Gundersen completed comprehensive energy audits at several campuses. Using those findings, the health system teamed up with Focus on Energy and engineering consultants to perform retrocommissioning. This process examined the heating and cooling systems, lighting and employee behavior, and used low-cost or no cost measures to improve efficiency and reduce energy demand. Activities that helped reduce energy included: Air handlers in three buildings were scheduled to run only when needed.
  • The zone scheduling led to a reduction of more than $78,000 in energy costs and saved more than 1.2 million kilowatt hours a year. Paybacks were immediate.
  • Reprogramming cooling system controls reduced energy consumption by about 1.1 million kW hours a year.
  • The chiller/tower optimization led to annual savings of approximately $65,000.
  • Changes to the way Gundersen's boilers are used led to a cost savings of nearly $64,000 annually and energy savings of just more than 74,000 therms.

By 2009, Gundersen achieved a 25 percent improvement in energy efficiency and more than $1MM in annual savings.