Seal of Dane County County of Dane
Dane County Office of Energy & Climate Change

Edgerton Hospital  Aerial view of Edgerton Hospital including healing garden

Geothermal Pays Off for Innovative Edgerton Hospital

As shared by Jim Schultz, CEO

Green isn’t just a color these days; it’s a way of life. And, it’s a passion that was always at the forefront during the planning and construction of the new Edgerton Hospital and Health Services. But, what really puts Edgerton Hospital on the map as a pioneer in green building is the fact that it’s the first hospital in the State of Wisconsin, as well as the first critical access hospital in the United States, to be built using geothermal heating and cooling. And, we didn’t stop there - high-performance electrical, onsite construction recycling, green roofs, a Healing Garden, and zero volatile organic building materials are just a sampling of how our small, rural hospital was built by Mother Nature’s guidelines.  

It started as a big idea for a little hospital. We realized that hospitals are one of the major consumers of energy and must be more focused on providing a cleaner and healthier environment for patients through the most efficient means. We had to really ask ourselves, “How can we reduce our carbon footprint?”

Beyond incorporating high efficiency equipment, energy star appliances, energy efficient windows, and other technologies all in an effort to provide a high performance building, the team at Edgerton Hospital wanted to go one step further in addressing climate change. In our energy-intensive industry, we knew that using geothermal technology is just what the doctor ordered to deliver emission reductions, patient comfort and reduce energy costs. 

The hospital complex features a ground-loop geothermal HVAC system that uses the earth’s natural temperature to provide heating and air conditioning. Geothermal energy is made possible thanks to the relatively constant temperature of the earth. The earth stores nearly 50 percent of all solar energy, making it a natural source of heat. Using heat pumps, this natural and renewable resource trapped below the earth's surface is transformed into usable energy in our hospital. In the winter, these pumps move the heat from the earth into the hospital. In the summer, they pull the heat from the hospital and discharge it into the ground. 

Not only are our efforts paying off for the environment and helping to lessen the adverse health effects caused by climate change, but they’re also helping our pocketbook! Within five years of the hospital opening, the cost savings from reduced natural gas consumption has already paid for the approximately $850,000 geothermal system. And, the hospital saves nearly $15,000/month in energy costs.  As a non-profit, every penny matters!  

The use of geothermal fit well within Edgerton Hospital’s ‘healthy village’ concept to set a new standard in healthcare with state-of-the-art technologies, sustainable building materials and systems, and exceptional patient care while promoting community health and wellness.

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