Every sector faces its own set of challenges, but most of us would agree that the Healthcare sector sees more than most. With a growing population, increase in life expectancy and eye watering Government targets to save almost £22bn by 2020, these three challenges alone are placing substantial stress and pressure on the UK’s healthcare providers.
More that £6.5bn a year is spent on maintaining and running the health services’ estate and facilities, of which energy amounts to around £500 million of this staggering figure. It’s not all doom and gloom though as energy is an area that could see cost savings being made due to advanced technological advancements that offer greater efficiency and sustainability.
Life saving equipment relies on an uninterruptible supply of power and the transference of accurate and reliable data, thus a healthcare providers’ mission critical IT infrastructure plays a crucial role in preventing loss of life. However, a data centre can be drain on shallow pockets.
With energy costs expected to double over the next 10 years and the amount of energy being consumed by data centres also expected to double, the future looks somewhat bleak. Data centres have large energy appetites which will only increase due to the growing dependency on I.T and communication equipment used to significantly improve productivity and efficiency.
The challenge for many in-house data centre managers is that the responsibilities for managing energy resources can be fragmented and conflicting objectives may exist across departments.
There are several measures of data centre operational efficiency, however the most recognised is the Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) calculation. PUE is a great metric and when used correctly can help to improve energy efficiency by 20% or more.
The main areas of energy consumption within a data centre are; IT Equipment, airflow, cooling, lighting. One of the biggest challenges for any data centre is operating obsolete or old servers. Many healthcare providers fail to replace servers, as recommended, at least every three years, to take advantage of improved energy efficient platforms.
There are several ways in which healthcare I.T managers can improve the energy efficiency of their data centre; the same principles can be applied to any industry;
• Remove obsolete or underutilised servers
• Purchase more energy-efficient hardware servers
• Switch to more efficient power supplies
• Implement hot aisle/cold aisle containment
• Invest in variable speed fan drives
• Consider airflow management
• Take advantage of free air-cooling
By making small changes it can make a dramatic impact on the energy usage and associated costs. There will undoubtably be initial CapEx investment, but the long-term cost benefits should not be disregarded. As energy costs increase and energy because less available the need to design future-proofed data centres is now more important than ever.
Workspace Technology offers energy-efficient data centre solutions to clients across the UK providing both CapEx and regular payment options to suit everyone’s budget.