Energy Star has named Kaiser Permanente as a Low Carbon IT Champion. Kaiser took part in Energy Star’s Low Carbon IT Challenge campaign, which challenges companies nationwide to change the way they use their energy—specifically within their information technology equipment and data centers.
By implementing a series of energy improvements, Kaiser has saved 6.9 million kWh this year.
In 2008, the health care provider’s data center facilities team launched the raised floor optimization program to maximize heat rejection and minimize air circulation at its 160,000-sq-foot data center. Specific projects included the following:
- Retrofitted 31 existing computer room air handler (CRAH) units from constant speed fans to electronically commutated variable speed fans.
- Added 57 new CRAH units.
- Installed SynapSense wireless sensors to measure rack temperature, temperature below the raised floor under the cabinet, and humidity above the floor.
- Installed 96 pressure sensors above and below the raised floor and 90 additional temperature sensors on the return air to the CRAH units.
- Isolated and sealed leads and bypass air through all equipment on the raised floor.
The wireless sensor network was integrated with the data center’s Automatic Logic Controls (ALC) energy management system to evaluate temperature quality degradation across the environment and optimize the heat removal cycle.
According to a study conducted by Pacific Gas & Electric, this project saved Kaiser enough energy annually to cover the cost of the improvements in 4.5 years.
Kaiser also implemented a number of energy efficiency efforts during a 40,000 square foot/4 MW data center expansion on the second floor:
- Replaced the chiller plant with a variable volume primary loop system, which resulted in more than 1.7 million kWh of energy savings annually.
- Installed air-side and water-side economizers. The water-side economizers can be run in parallel with the chillers or in stand-alone mode, eliminating the need for chiller operation when conditions are right.
- Installed a new uninterruptable power source (UPS). Waste heat from the UPS room is routed to the generator room to eliminate the need to operate a boiler.
- Installed new LED lighting and occupancy sensors.
- Deployed fully enclosed return air chimneys tied to a drop ceiling return plenum back to the air handling units, eliminating air recirculation through the computer space.