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Participant
UW Health
- Participant
UW Health
One of the country's premier health care resources, UW Health, is committed to advancing the well-being of the people of Wisconsin and beyond. "Social responsibility – doing what is best for the individuals and communities we serve – is part of our mission statement," said Ralph Turner, VP, facilities & support services for UW Health. "Finding ways to run our facilities in a more environmentally friendly way is a logical outgrowth of that."

Two decisions that reflect this commitment: purchasing renewable energy at both new and existing facilities and adopting LEED standards for all building upgrades and new construction.

UW Health now purchases renewable energy through MGE's Green Power Tomorrow program. Their new Digestive Health Center will offset over 1,000 tons of carbon dioxide and 731,663 pounds of coal annually. Their other 14 facilities will offset 47 tons of carbon dioxide and 31,500 pounds of coal each year.

The organization committed to meeting LEED standards for all new construction in 2008 and by 2014 will have ten LEED-certified facilities. At the new Digestive Health Center, UW Health is working toward LEED silver certification. The building was oriented for optimal use of heat and light and consumes 20% less energy than comparable buildings. It has highly efficient lighting, heating and plumbing, and through stormwater collection – which feeds rooftop water into a grey water system – cuts water use by 40%. In addition, the building's roof is planted with vegetation which insulates the building.

When UW Health makes upgrades to existing buildings, it implements the LEED EB – existing buildings – standards. "We're committed to providing indoor and outdoor spaces that are safe and healthy for the community and the environment. LEED is a comprehensive tool we use to assess the ways our buildings are designed, constructed and maintained," stated Shannon K. Bunsen, plant engineering services coordinator for UW Health.

UW Health actively seeks energy-saving opportunities in its day-to-day operations as well. "We work with MGE to do energy audits at our existing clinics, and we're members of Sustain Dane's Mpower's Business ChaMpions program," said Bunsen. "We can't always be as energy efficient as we'd like in our clinical areas – because there are specific standards we need to maintain in pressures, humidity and light levels with regard to patient care – but we do look for these opportunities in our office spaces."

This year, UW Health complemented these efforts with an employee-focused "Green STEPS Challenge" that began on Earth Day, April 22, to encourage staff participation. This activity provided a list of sustainability steps employees could take at home, in the workplace and in the community. The program was well received by the faculty and staff and had a participation rate of over 50%. "As health care providers, we have a responsibility to our communities," Bunsen said. "Effective energy use is an important way to make a difference."
Thank you,
UW Health
, for supporting Green Power Tomorrow.


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