Aspirus Health receives “Renewable Energy Catalyst of the Year” award

RENEW Wisconsin recently presented two champions of Aspirus Health’s sustainability efforts with a “2020 Renewable Energy Catalyst of the Year” award. Ali Wolf and Sid Sczygelski received this honor for helping make a difference in Wisconsin’s clean energy landscape over the past year.

 

Wolf is Aspirus Health’s System Director of Sustainability. Sczygelski is Aspirus’ Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer as well as chair of the Aspirus Sustainability Oversight Committee.

 

“Although presented to Ali and me, this award is really the Aspirus organization being acknowledged for the work we are doing in sustainability,” Sczygelski said. “We, and Aspirus, feel very honored for the recognition.”

 

RENEW Wisconsin selected Wolf and Sczygelski for the catalyst award for being driving forces behind Aspirus’ sustainability initiative and its many achievements.

 

“At Aspirus, we recognize the importance of clean/renewable energy and have built a robust sustainability program with ambitious goals, including reducing our energy use by 50 percent and our carbon footprint by 80 percent by 2030,” Wolf said. “We’ve made excellent progress over the last three years. We’ve established the program foundation, integrated it into our culture and implemented many energy conservation and renewable energy projects. We understand that this is just the beginning of an important and substantial effort on behalf of our patients and the communities we serve. RENEW Wisconsin remarked on the vastness of our focus and the achievements to date.”

 

For instance, in under two years, Aspirus has installed eight solar panel arrays on rooftops across its system, approaching one megawatt of solar photovoltaic electricity in total. Four of the five largest solar arrays found east of State Highway 13 and north of State Highway 29 in Wisconsin supply clean energy to Aspirus facilities.

 

Energy conservation efforts have been aggressive across Aspirus’ hospitals and a handful of its clinics. These efforts in combination with its renewable energy has yielded Aspirus $750,000 in savings and 8,694,988 kilowatt-hours, which is equal to 6,148 metric tons of carbon dioxide (MtCo2) or the annual energy/fuel of 709 houses and 1,328 vehicles.

 

“Health care requires the use of a lot of energy and resources,” Sczygelski said. “At Aspirus, we’re happy to be taking intentional steps to reduce our environmental impact, while also strengthening our business operations, for the communities we serve in Wisconsin and Upper Michigan. We’re particularly proud RENEW Wisconsin recognized our sustainability program as ambitious for a health care provider in normal times and our commitment to the program during a pandemic ‘nothing short of remarkable.’”

 

Aspirus is integrating solar energy, geothermal heating and cooling, and other sustainability features into its downtown Wausau clinic construction project, which will make the clinic Aspirus’ most energy-efficient facility yet. Sustainability initiatives offer many benefits to people, the planet and business performance. Aspirus encourages leaders across business and industry, community government, faith communities and health care networks to pursue sustainability initiatives.

 

The Aspirus Sustainability Initiative was established in 2018 as a coordinated, strategic effort to identify and implement sustainability initiatives across the Aspirus Health system with the aim of improving the lives of patients and the health of communities.

 

The “2020 Renewable Energy Catalyst of the Year” award was presented as part of RENEW Wisconsin’s Renewable Energy Summit, held virtually January 12-14. RENEW Wisconsin is a nonprofit that works on policies and programs aimed at expanding the use of clean energy throughout the state.