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County government saving electricity, natural gas, and paper with sustainable habits

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La Crosse County government has been finding ways to save energy and money over the last decade, with sustainable practices, according to one expert.

Anders Olson, from the company Sustainability Analytics of La Crosse, told the board that the county has saved over $3 million in resources over the past 15 years.

Olson said the biggest energy user in the county government is the courthouse and jail — consuming about one-third of the electricity among county facilities — with the Lakeview and Hillview nursing homes close behind.

Olson added that the county uses 22 percent less electricity now in a year than it did in 2007, while county government has cut back on vehicle fuel and carbon dioxide emissions. She added the county even cut its paper consumption in half over the last 15 years.

La Crosse County government set a goal of reducing carbon emissions by 80 percent over a 25-year period, on the way to going carbon-free by 2050.

County supervisors suggested other types of potential savings not included in Olson’s report.

They proposed switching from fluorescent lighting still being used in the county office building, to energy-saving LED lighting.

They also argued that Olson’s report didn’t cover the program where gas from the county landfill is used for energy by the Gundersen Health System.

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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