By Gary Baldwin
Going green, no doubt, is very difficult for health care organizations. Green electricity sources are still in their infancy. Moreover, hospitals face ever-increasing demands for electricity.
Take OSF Healthcare System. The Peoria, Ill.-based delivery system operates seven hospitals across two states in addition to its 160 clinics. Its annual electricity consumption is approximately 195 million kilowatt hours, says Edward McKenzie, corporate plant operations manager. Add 6.5 million therms (a unit of natural gas) to the yearly energy consumption, and you've got a big utility bill.
One of the biggest users of energy is the IT department, McKenzie says. "IT does not have a good reputation" when it comes to energy savings, he says. Its data centers have voracious energy appetites. And running the servers and laptops needed to sustain 12,000 employees only adds to the demand. "Anything you can do to reduce energy consumption is what we look at," McKenzie says. The challenge, he adds, is keeping up with the increased energy needs of server racks. "They have gone from 10 to 20 to 35 kilowatts per rack per hour to run," he says. "It generates a tremendous amount of heat."
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