Case study: Wisconsin hospital saves dollars by going green

Bit by bit, a center at one Wisconsin hospital has been adding green initiatives to its operations. These efforts, while not earth-shattering on their own, have already begun to show results for the facility, administrators say.

The Regional Cancer Collaborative at St. Mary's Hospital in Green Bay, Wis., has rolled out several green initiatives, including "heat reclamation"--a process allowing systems to reclaim heat running off a facility's machinery. This so-called "waste heat," when reclaimed, is enough to heat and cool 722,000 square foot Wisconsin homes all year round. Along the way, the project allowed St. Mary's to changes settings on its boiler and HVAC equipment, which save it 2,800 gallons of water each day.

Another example of its green efforts include a lighting system that lowers automatically when daylight streams in, saving energy costs for the facility.

The latest initiative at the Center is a "living roof," featuring interlocked growing plants picked for rooftop use due to their long growing season. These plants insulate the building from high-intensity sunlight. The project cost the facility roughly $400,000, but officials expect that it will save money over the long run by lowering air-conditioning and heating costs by anywhere from 10 to 50 percent.

Not only will the living roof save money on energy, it should greatly extend the roof's life, engineers say. While typical tar roofs last 20 years, this one could last 50 or more years before it needs to be maintained, according to hospital leaders.

To learn more these green efforts:
- read this Health Leaders Media piece

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