Gundersen Envision We're creating a more inheritable world...and we can show you how.

It's a story that began with a big vision. How could a mid-sized, Midwestern health system lead the nation in energy independence and sustainability? With all of the challenges facing healthcare, why would we focus on the environment?

Because we live in this beautiful place.

And because we care for...and about...the next generation.

We're an integrated delivery system

Headquartered in La Crosse, Wisconsin, we have more than 60 regional locations in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa. We have been repeatedly named in the top one percent in the nation for quality care.

Our sustainability story began with an Energy "Check-up."

  • Retrofitting light fixtures: $245,000 annual savings
  • Timing our air handler operation: $78,000 annual savings
  • Chiller/tower optimization: $65,000 annual savings
  • Changes to boiler use: $64,000 annual savings, and more.

We're saving more than $3 million/year through energy conservation.

We've reduced pharmaceutical and hazardous waste by more than 75% since 2010.

We divert tons of waste from the landfill each year through our surgical recycling program.

Volunteers turn discarded sterile surgical blue wrap into usable items such as aprons for cancer patients to use for crafts during chemo treatments, tote bags, craft bags to hold supplies, small cinch bags to hold patients' personal items and wheelchair and walker bags used in the therapy departments.

Gundersen has recycled and reused more than 9,400 pounds of surgical blue wrap.

We've reduced our food waste by 80%.

We also donate more than 500 meals/month to the Salvation Army.

At least 20% of the food we purchase is produced locally.

We have a 67% recycling and reuse rate of our solid waste stream.

That's put us in Practice Greenhealth's Environmental Leadership Circle for more than a decade.

We're masters at constructing energy-efficient buildings

Our energy efficiency puts us in the top 1% for the Midwest (where summers can be hot and winters are just plain cold).

Our new clinic in Sparta, Wisconsin was recognized in July, 2019 by the Department of Energy as "the vanguard of energy conservation for health care facilities in Wisconsin, if not the entire U.S." The Gundersen Sparta Clinic achieved LEED Gold certification and was designed as a net zero building. A combination of geo thermal wells, solar panels, and advanced systems controls means it is the most efficient building in Gundersen's portfolio.

Our portfolio of energy projects was our pathway toward independence.

Today, we continue down the path, looking to build upon our success by improving the energy resiliency and autonomy of each of our individual sites--like the Sparta Clinic. That approach allows us greater flexibility to meet the changing needs of our growing footprint and tailor our efforts to the demands of each of location, which can vary based on a facility’s age, use and more.

Biomass Boiler

Gundersen's boilers were high users of fossil fuels, consuming much of the natural gas used to create heat for buildings. When it came time to replace aging boilers, Gundersen looked at options and selected a biomass boiler.

The biomass boiler was - by far - the largest single project in the Envision® portfolio.


We use manure to generate clean, renewable power, while protecting waterways from algae-producing run-off, and reducing greenhouse gases.


When you think "landfill" you probably don't think "renewable energy source." Think again! Gundersen partnered with La Crosse County on a project that captures waste biogas at the landfill and turns it into electricity and heat.

Our Onalaska Campus

Enough energy is created, from biogas, to make one of Gundersen's multi-building campuses the only one in the country to be 100 percent energy independent.


Solar panels on the roof of our Onalaska Clinic provide 300 kilowatts of energy at peak production, an amount that lowers our annual energy expenses by up to $45,000—all while bettering the health of the neighborhoods we serve.

Solar panels on the roof of our La Crosse parking ramp are just one element that helped it become one of the nation's first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design)-certified parking structures in the country. LEED is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings.

More solar!

  • Solar hot water at our Child Care Center.
  • A solar thermal water heating system at our Onalaska renal dialysis unit.
  • Solar panels at our Tomah and Sparta Clinics, our Behavioral Health Hospital and our Support Services Building


A geothermal heat pump uses the earth as either a heating or cooling source. The system takes advantage of the moderate temperatures underground to greatly improve efficiencies of HVAC (heating and cooling) equipment. We installed a 300-ton heat pump along with 156 wells buried about 400 feet underneath a La Crosse parking lot. At that depth, the ground is at a relatively constant temperature of roughly 48 degrees, providing an efficient heating and cooling source year-round.

It results in a savings of 70 to 80 kBTU per square foot annually.

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