LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW) -- Gundersen Health System took a big step toward energy independence Wednesday, as they powered-up a new biomass boiler.
It's located on the La Crosse campus and makes up 38 percent of the energy independence goal. Gundersen is on track achieve that independence by 2014
The boiler generates steam that is used to heat buildings as well as to power laundry and kitchen facilities and even sanitize medical equipment.
"This sets the example for the community that Gundersen is really concerned about cost," said Alan Eber, the manger of energy and engineering. "We're trying to reduce the cost of care for our patients by lowering the cost of our energy usage. We're also being environmentally friendly, it sets that example. It improves the health of our community by putting less fossil fuel waste into the atmosphere."
The boiler is powered by wood chips from around western Wisconsin. The biomass boiler is estimated to save Gundersen Health System about $500,000 a year.