GEISINGER MEDICAL CENTER -- Geisinger Medical Center is working to reduce energy use in the way it heats and cools its facilities.
Usually, when people visit Geisinger Medical Center, they visit patients or have a doctor's appointment. On Thursday, a group of elected officials in central Pennsylvania took a different route. They toured the hospital's advanced energy plant.
Geisinger has a combined heat and power plant as well as a steam chiller plant.
"We make cooling at night to use during the day. We generate our own electricity in it," explained Al Neuner, Vice President of Geisinger Facility Operations.
These highly efficient plants were installed through Pennsylvania's energy efficiency law which resulted in almost $700,000 in state rebates to Geisinger.
Those rebates make the hospital's heating and cooling bill virtually zero.
Neuner says the lower energy cost has an impact on community health.
"We make a tie between our energy use and how that affects air quality, which in turn improves the health of the communities we serve."
The heating and power plant also produces independent electricity on site. That allows Geisinger to keep operating at full power during outages to continue caring for patients.
Neuner says plans are already in the works to bring this program to Geisinger Wyoming Valley near Wilkes-Barre.
"We take the lessons we learn here and spread that out to other hospitals."
These plants are saving energy, money and improving patient care.