Lighting Assessment, Design and Installation
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Gundersen Health Systems Tweeten Care Center

reduction in resident falls
reduction in Sundowners
energy savings
Lighting Upgrade Success Stories Gunderson Health Exterior
Lighting Upgrade Success Stories Gunderson Health Interior
Lighting Upgrade Success Stories Gunderson Health Light Fixture
“Electrical costs are lower. Staff appreciate that the light adjusts in the evening and gives you a feeling of day ending and time for bed. Lighting is 110% improved from what we had before.”
Administrator Michelle Borreson
Additional Savings
  • Reduced kWh use by 115,746 hours annually
  • Energy savings of $13,959 annually 
  • Simple Payback – 6.48 years 
  • ROI –15%
  • CO2 reduced by 256,493 lbs. annually
  • Reduced SO2 emissions by 1,412 lbs. annually 
  • Reduced NOx by 660 lbs. annually
  • Nearly $5000 in energy incentives applied 
  • Sundowners effect was reduced by 38%. (While the exact cause is unknown, sundowners occurs among senior residents right before bedtime.)
  • Reduced need for medication among residents
  • Anti-anxiety meds reduced by 8%
  • Anti-psychotic meds reduced by 8%
  • Falls reduced by 32%
  • All of this was over 1000 patient days and measured by the nursing staff.

In addition to energy savings, Tweeten aimed to improve the lives of its senior residents. The CDC estimates the cost of falls to Medicare to be more than $31 billion. The average fall costs $35,000 in medical expenses. Tweeten hoped to reduce a major risk for the facility and its residents while achieving unbeatable energy savings.


Using an occupant-centric approach, EPL and our research partner, Midwest Lighting Institute (MLI), learned how the facility is used to design lighting that could be dynamically controlled throughout the day to achieve Tweeten’s savings and health goals.

Common areas were upgraded with dynamic LED lighting that changes color and intensity during the day to simulate natural daylight. We connected the lighting to an existing building automation system for the ease of the facility.

Patient rooms were relamped with LED lighting -- blue uplights for day to simulate a natural alerting effect for residents who do not get outdoors. We added warmer downlights for a calming effect in the evening. Dimmable lighting was added to patient bathrooms, so patients wouldn’t be awakened by a bright blue light in the middle of the night.