LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW) – Gundersen Lutheran is"going green" in heating its new behavioral health building.
The building will open in January, and the bulk of its energy comes from a field of water wells located below a parking lot.
The concept is called "geothermal energy."
The wells contain water, which is transmitted to and from pumps such as the one in the Behavioral Health building via plastic piping.
In the winter, hot water drawn from the earth is transported from the wells to various campus buildings and used for heat.
In the summer, water is used to absorb heat from the buildings.
That water is then transmitted back into the earth and the heat is released.
"We're trying to lower the cost of care to our community, and energy's a big cost for a hospital," said Gundersen Lutheran Engineer Alan Eber. "So anything we can do to kind of lower that cost is an advantage for our community."
"We've set a goal for the new hospital to be in the 95th percentile of energy efficient hospitals, and the number one thing we're doing to try to achieve that goal is the geothermal heat pump,"Eber added. "What it's doing is allowing us to reduce our energy usage over 35 percent of what it would be."
The pumps in the Behavioral Health building, and other Gundersen Lutheran buildings, that are used to transport the water from buildings to the wells are electric powered.
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