Our Commitment to Sustainability

Our mission as it pertains to the development of our facility and campus is to create a model of sustainable living – a model that includes:

  • A physical and social environment that promotes, supports, and inspires clients, visitors, and staff members to live the healthiest life possible; an environment that makes the healthiest thing to do the easiest thing to do.
  • A physical structure and operating practices that sustain the ecological integrity and beauty of our environment.
  • A business model that makes our health and wellness services available to the people of our service area and beyond.

Specifically, we will:

  • Design and deliver programs that teach people how to optimize their health and wellbeing; programs that address the physical, emotional, and social wellbeing of our clients. We will make as many programs as possible available to anyone interested at low to no cost.
  • Provide employees and visitors access to natural light and views whenever possible.
  • Provide employees and visitors with healthy food options. Eliminate unhealthy options (e.g. no soda, no deep fried foods).
  • Power our facility using renewable energy sources (e.g. geothermal heating and cooling and solar power).
  • Protect the natural landscape by managing water on the site to prevent run-off (e.g. retention ponds) and planting landscape with natural prairie plants that do not require watering and that support wildlife.
  • Reduce demand for natural resource utilization by optimizing use of natural light, utilizing low-energy light fixtures, installing low-flow toilets, etc.
  • Reduce exposure to toxic substances by constructing the facility with low VOC building materials, utilizing eco-friendly cleaning products and processes, and installing high-quality air handling systems that circulate fresh air.
  • Purchase supplies from sources dedicated to sustainable practices, purchasing as close to our site as possible (e.g. purchasing food from local farms), minimizing waste.
  • Grow vegetables on site; teach community sustainable gardening practices.
  • Recycle all waste possible (e.g. food scraps to local farms, recyclable materials to local recycling, reuse materials whenever possible).
  • Educate staff on sustainable lifestyle practices.

Our world-class healthcare campus provides a vision of sustainable living. Some of the sustainability features built into our facility include:

A minimal amount of fossil fuels are used to heat or cool the new 120,000-square-foot building. The building will be heated and cooled using geothermal. This is a system that moves heating and cooling throughout the building hydronically and when needed can use stored heat or cooling from a horizontal well field buried 15 and 30 feet underground.
The lighting fixtures in the facility are highly efficient LEDs, but every effort has been made to bring in as much natural light as possible. The building is bright and cheery with large windows, skylights, and indirect lighting. Western Wisconsin Health was able to provide a natural light source to 95% of all employee work areas either through a window, door, or skylight.
Starting with the exterior of the building, energy efficiency has been a major priority. The higher-quality windows feature upgraded glazing. The building uses an exterior insulation commonly known as outsulation where the inside wall stud cavity is left empty and insulation is installed on the outside of the exterior wall sheathing. This allows the air and moisture barrier to be applied on the exterior sheathing and to not have holes poked into it when installing electrical outlets and interior sheathing. It also allows for the air and moisture barrier and insulation to be impervious and continuous with no interruptions.
In the near future, the Western Wisconsin Health campus plans to receive its electrical power from the sun. Space has already been allocated for the solar panel array, and a spot has been allocated for the photo-voltaic equipment in the electrical room with conduits run in from the outside for easy connection to the array.
A unique feature of the building’s heating and cooling system is the capability to capture waste heat and use it elsewhere in the building. For example, in the winter, the interior waste heat can be pumped under the sidewalks to melt snow, and cooling from this process can be used to cool walk-in coolers/freezers or data rooms.
Throughout the building, care has been taken to provide healthy, fresh, high-quality air. In the inpatient occupancy rooms, a chilled beam system was installed that uses 20% conditioned outside air to naturally move air around in the rooms.
Like the Prairie Architecture style of the building, the grounds of the Western Wisconsin Health campus will maintain its natural landscape. Maintenance will be minimized by limiting the mowed grassy areas close to the building and by utilizing a medium-prairie grass throughout the grounds. This also reduces the need for pesticides/chemicals. A community garden is available to teach sustainable garden practices.
Retention ponds will capture runoff from the building, the parking lot, and the grounds. Specific vegetation known as a rain garden in the ponds will naturally cleanse and filter out impurities.
To attain LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) green building certification, construction materials were sourced within a 500-mile radius of the building. Often, materials were much closer than that — such as steel from nearby Elmwood (Valley Custom Welding) and concrete from Roberts (County Materials Concrete).
Approximately 85% of construction waste has been recycled. This involves separating and then recycling scrap metals, cardboard, plastics, wood, and much more.
You won’t find junk food (or soda) on the Western Wisconsin Health campus. What you will find are tasty foods that are also healthy foods (and water bottle filling stations at each drinking fountain).

“We want people to adopt healthy lifestyles,” explained Page. “This is a place where the healthy options are the easy options. Eating well and living well is easier if it is also the most convenient thing to do.”

In addition to evolving with new medical technologies and providing even more programs offering a strong focus on sustainability, Western Wisconsin Health will continue to develop as a community hub for health and wellness services of all types — including future retirement housing, retail services, and community resources that support healthy living and healthy communities.