The LAC+USC Healthcare Network, one of the largest county health-care organizations in the U.S., was recently awarded an Energy Star Certificate from the Environmental Protection Agency for its efforts to reduce energy use and adopt green technology.

The LAC+USC Healthcare Network, part of the Department of Health Services within Los Angeles County, consists of four major hospitals and more than 19 clinics. In the past, each of these entities procured their own PCs and servers and ran their own data centers. But under a new initiative to streamline processes and reduce energy use, the LAC+USC Medical Center became the main IT hub, hosting all major applications for the other hospitals and clinics.
 
Part of that process involved expanding the LAC+USC Medical Center data center and salvaging and decommissioning old hardware in favor of newer, energy efficient models. The new machines are Energy Star-qualified models, meaning they consume less power than typical models. The new desktop computers consume about 46 watts when active (compared to nearly 70 watts for a standard model), while laptops consume roughly 14 watts (compared to more than 21 watts for a standard model).
 
“So far we have decommissioned close to 5,000 old PCs and monitors and 200 old servers,” said Ben Javidan, data center manager for the LAC+USC Healthcare Network. “The old equipment was utilizing almost 30 percent more electrical energy compared to the Energy Star equipment that we are utilizing now.”
 
And because staff members and other users were in the habit of leaving computers and monitors turned on, according to Javidan, the LAC+USC Medical Center also implemented sleep modes on all new computers, which automatically shut down PCs after five minutes of non-use.
 
Javidan said the EPA estimates that this project will save more than $176,500 annually. “Over three years, the useful life of a typical computer, this amounts to well over $300,000 and prevents more than 4,520 tons of CO2 from being released into the atmosphere,” he said. “To absorb that much carbon naturally, you’d have to plant more than 725 acres of trees.”
 
In total, the Healthcare Network has close to 6,000 computer users across the county.

To further reduce energy use, the health-care organization plans to investigate installing solar panels in the future, Javidan said.

Justine Brown  |  Contributing Writer