Gundersen’s new Legacy in sustainability

The Legacy building is Gundersen’s fifth to be LEED certified. That means the Environmental Protection Agency considers it an energy-efficient facility. So it’s not just the patients the building saves.

Gundersen is known for taking care of its patients. But the Legacy Building is Gundersen’s latest effort to also take care of the environment.

“There are a number of items we’ve gone above and beyond what a typical hospital would do to make this more energy efficient,” Alan Eber, Gundersen’s manager of engineering and energy management said.

There are many things that go into making a building eco-friendly. For the Legacy building, that started with construction.


“In this building we recycled 93 percent of all the material that we used in this building,” Eber said.

After construction came the inside of the building.

“The biggest thing that we’ve done is we’ve put in a geothermal heat pump system,” Eber said. “Which means that we use the earth’s mild temperatures to both heat this building in the winter time and in the summer time it’s a more efficient way to cool the building.”

Even the furniture in the waiting room is efficient.

“Everything is done with a moisture-barrier cushion. It’s done with fabrics that are just scrubable and washable with just soap and water. Anything that keeps us from having to throw it away,” Gundersen’s interior designer Theresa Besse said.

Taking care of its patients is Gundersen’s top priority and officials say taking care of the environment is the next step to accomplish that.

“The less energy we use, the lower we can have our cost of care. So it’s a cost savings for Gundersen and ultimately our patients to be energy efficient,” Eber said.

Eber said the building is in the top 1 percent of health care facilities for energy efficiency in our area. Gundersen is also buying local to stock the Legacy Building. A majority of the furniture, paintings and other artwork were made right here in Wisconsin.