Energy and water impacts
At Geisinger, we have several important initiatives to better care for our patients by caring for the environment through our energy and water saving programs.
Geisinger’s cogeneration facility is an example of an energy efficiency retrofit that has made Geisinger a state and national model for how healthcare systems can save millions annually while improving the local environment to benefit patients and local communities.
In 2011, Geisinger installed a cogeneration facility for its Danville campus. The cogeneration plant simultaneously generates heat and electricity with an efficiency about 50 percent higher than a utility power plant. A high-efficiency natural gas-powered turbine generates about 40 percent of the campus’ electricity needs, and about 80 percent of its heating needs. Captured waste heat powers boilers and a steam-powered turbine chiller. The system operates at about 80 percent efficiency.
During warm months, the turbine chiller uses excess waste heat from the system to provide 1,500 tons of free cooling. Geisinger also installed a chilled-water-storage system. At night, when temperatures and electricity costs are lower, the system uses excess capacity to cool water and store it in a 1 million-gallon tank. During the day, electric chillers can be shut off and cooling provided from the chilled water. In addition to reducing energy usage, the system lets Geisinger avoid peak energy surcharges and purchase fewer chillers.
Geisinger also saves money by recapturing the water generated by air handlers during the cooling season to feed the cooling towers and significantly reduce water usage. In combination with efficient plumbing fixtures, the system helps Geisinger save 25 million gallons of water annually.
In all, the system is generating annual savings of $2.2 million, while dramatically reducing pollutants and their associated health impacts.
These energy-saving initiatives result in improved health for Geisinger’s service population of 3 million individuals. Reductions in premature death, chronic bronchitis, asthma attacks and respiratory symptoms are predicted using Practice GreenHealth’s Energy Impact Calculator. With better health, reduced hospital visits and fewer work days lost, the project yielded a savings in direct medical costs of $3,980,694.
A perfect Energy Star rating
Geisinger strives to consistently lower energy consumption and cost. This includes conservation technologies and leveraging the commodity market to lower air pollution and the chronic health issues it creates. As a result, Geisinger Medical Center was awarded EPA’s EnergyStar in 2013, scoring a perfect 100. The score is based on facility and utility data, ranging from lighting requirements to parking space, to assess energy use per square foot. EnergyStar then compared Geisinger performance against other medical facilities in its size category.
Other energy initiatives
White roofs (“cool” roofs) on some facilities reflect sunlight to keep buildings cooler, while lasting longer than traditional roofs. Energy-reducing features include high-efficiency lighting, heating and cooling systems.
Saving and protecting water
Facility water savings
“Green,” plant-covered roofs on some Geisinger facilities improve storm water management – while lasting years longer than traditional roofs. Green roofs also improve air quality and reduce the temperature of the building and of the surrounding air in two ways: by shading the building top, and through evapotranspiration (plant roots absorb water, and use heat from the air to evaporate the water).
Geisinger also conserves water by installing automated flush valves and faucets, condensation recovery and waterless medical air and vacuum compressors.
Water-conscious grounds management
Geisinger uses native plants in landscape beds, which need less water and provide habitat for birds and other wildlife.
Geisinger collects water that runs off parking lots in catch basins to trap pollutants before returning the water to the ground.
Geisinger helps the community safely dispose of unused or expired prescriptions, including narcotics - keeping medications from polluting our rivers and lakes.
From 2012 through 2016, the program safely disposed of 2.9 tons of medications.
Take-back boxes are available at most Geisinger CareSite Pharmacies, our hospitals and many other locations in local communities. Find one near you.