Focus on Energy Grant Funds Energy Savings Program at Ministry Health Care

Innovative program puts non-essential computers to sleep to achieve energy and cost savings

(WAUSAU, WI)-- Focus on Energy (FOE) recently announced a grant to Ministry Health Care to fund a program that saves energy when non-clinical computers are not in use.  The program began last year and was fully operational by fall 2012.

How the program works is relatively simple.  When a non-essential or non-clinical computer is out of use for two hours it automatically goes into a “sleep mode” which significantly reduces the amount of energy it consumes.  All computers needed for 24/7 operations or important patient care that cannot be put to sleep were identified and excluded from the program.

Ministry uses a sophisticated computer program called Verdiem Surveyor that helps analyze computer usage to reduce energy consumption and optimize savings both in terms of energy and costs.  The program is part of a system wide initiative within Ministry to manage costs and help keep care affordable.

According to Al Pennebecker, Ministry Regional VP Facilities and Support Services, “A typical computer draws 45-120 watts of electricity when running at full power. In standby mode it only draws 2.5-3.5 watts. Based on the first five months of the program in operation, we will reduce our computer energy usage by more than 40 percent, and when totaling all the computers involved, this is the equivalent of saving 15,616 trees or taking 118 cars off the road annually.”

As the program became fully operational, over 9500 computers at Ministry and Affinity became part of this program.  Ministry expects to realize ongoing annual savings in electrical consumption of over $57,000.  The grant from Focus on Energy for $66,480 is to help offset the costs of implementing the program at Ministry and is a part of their effort to help their customers manage their power consumption more effectively.

“It’s a pleasure working with organizations like Ministry Heath Care that are committed to improving their energy efficiency,” noted Tim Dantoin, Senior Energy Advisor for Focus on Energy.  “This project goes a long way in that direction.  Ministry is also engaging Focus on Energy and their utility providers such as Wisconsin Public Service in developing a common understanding and approach to energy management across all of their facilities.  We’re very happy to be supporting Ministry’s efforts.”

Tim Hintz, Wisconsin Public Service- Account Management Representative, noted, “The partnership with Ministry Health Care, Focus on Energy and WPS is a great success story, which will allow other  energy efficiency projects to be reviewed and implemented at Ministry facilities thru out the WPS service territory”.

Key staff from Ministry involved in this project include Al Pennebecker, Regional VP Facilities and Support Services; Roy Kelling, Regional Director of Facilities and Environmental Services; and David Mauel and Jason Conley, both Desktop Engineers in Ministry’s Information Technology Department.

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