Health system's data centers first in Pennsylvania to commit to 100% Pa. wind power

15 May 2013 by Tom Gray Tom Gray

The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) said Monday that its data centers have gone “green” to support both clean energy and local job creation. Through the purchase of renewable energy credits (RECs) for Pennsylvania wind power equal to its data centers’ annual energy usage, the health system became the first in the state to make such a commitment for its data facilities.  

UPMC’s green energy purchase, the center said in a news release, "expands its long-time pursuit of environmentally friendly practices." UPMC purchased 15,400 RECs generated by wind farms in Pennsylvania from EverPower Wind Holdings, Inc., of Pittsburgh. This purchase equates to 15.4 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of renewable electricity, accounting for 100 percent of the annual electricity use by UPMC’s corporate and Shadyside data centers.

UPMC said its commitment is expected to avoid the emissions of more than 11,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide that would result from an equivalent amount of energy generated using fossil fuels, thus reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

“As a good steward of the environment and public health, we are pleased to be able to make this commitment to local wind energy for our employees and our patients,” said UPMC Chief Information Officer Dan Drawbaugh.

Greening its data center usage follows three years of efforts by UPMC to decrease overall power consumption at the sites using advanced cooling methods and consolidation of computer systems.

EverPower is a participant in the ChoosePAWind initiative.  In its second year, ChoosePAWind is designed to increase awareness of Pennsylvania’s wind industry and inform energy buyers about the options available to choose clean, renewable energy generated in Pennsylvania for their homes and businesses. Currently, ChoosePAWind lists 19 companies running on Pennsylvania wind energy, including six located in Pittsburgh.

”It is wonderful to be able to supply renewable energy to a Pittsburgh leader committed to improving public health,” said Jim Spencer, president and chief executive officer of EverPower. “Purchases like this allow more wind farms to be built in Pennsylvania, thus creating economic growth and environmental benefits.”

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