Scarborough Hospital saves green by going green

The servers may be virtual but the savings are real.

The Scarborough Hospital, Canada’s largest urban community hospital, invested more than $200,000 into a greening initiative earlier this year. The project, which is expected to save the hospital $50,000 a year, saw a reduction in the number of physical computer servers in the building.

Scarborough Hospital greening initiative by the numbers
The Scarborough Hospital's recent greening initiative by the numbers. Figures provided by Toronto Hydro Electric System. (Infographic by Fiona Persaud/Toronto Observer) (Infographic)

“The idea came out of our need to replace the existing servers,” said Andrew Kelly, manager of technical services at TSH.

Kelly oversaw the plans to replace 41 of the hospital’s physical servers with four virtual ones that not only have a larger capacity, but reduce energy consumption. The move has resulted in greater energy efficiency, a recent TSH release said.

“There are fewer [physical] servers and therefore a lower amount of electricity involved,” Kelly said.

Servers generate a lot of heat, he said, so implementing the new technology will also reduce the amount air conditioning needed to cool the machines.

The hospital received a 10 per cent rebate on its investment through Toronto Hydro’s data centre incentive program, Kelly said.

TSH now has the equivalent of 75 servers running on the four virtual machines with room to grow.