Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recognized Better Buildings Alliance (BBA) partner Gundersen Health System at their Sparta Clinic in Sparta, Wisconsin for impressive portfolio-wide energy efficiency advances. As part of its Envision Sustainability Program, Gundersen is pursuing energy efficiency through low-energy design standards coupled with renewable energy. Since 2008, Gundersen has saved more than $11 million dollars through energy efficiency upgrades and Gundersen’s Sparta Clinic uses less than 50% of the energy that the average clinic uses today.
Sparta Clinic was built with sustainable design features aimed at achieving its energy usage goal of 35 kBtu per square feet. After being open just over a year, the clinic surpassed its energy savings goal by 9% which resulted in an annual energy savings of more than $68,500. In May 2017, the clinic was certified LEED Gold for Building Design + Construction.
In addition to its energy efficient design, the Sparta Clinic also integrates renewable energy through solar and geothermal systems. The clinic utilizes both on-site and off-site solar, with a rooftop array of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels capable of producing 100 kilowatts (kW) of energy and 280 kW of solar energy purchased from a nearby Xcel Energy community solar garden. The combined solar power generates enough renewable energy to offset the building’s consumption. As of June 2018, the solar PV panels have produced more energy than the building has consumed establishing the clinic as an energy independent facility. The clinic also uses 40 geothermal wells, all 300 feet deep, to heat and cool the building. Gundersen was able to meet its goal by combining solar and geothermal with a variety of energy efficiency building features including a heat recovery ventilation system, building automation system and plug load controls.
More than 900 organizations now partner with DOE in Better Buildings and have saved more than $8.4 billion in energy costs to-date. Through Better Buildings, DOE partners with leaders in the public and private sectors to make the nation’s homes, commercial buildings, and industrial plants more energy-efficient by accelerating investment and sharing of successful best practices. Greater efficiency saves billions of dollars on energy bills, reduces pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, and creates jobs.
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