With financial support from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Kaiser Permanente received a grant from the Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) Data Center Energy Efficiency Program (DCEEP) to upgrade data centers. 

In 2016, Maryland’s state energy office became the first in America to offer a dedicated program to address the energy usage and needs of data centers. Supported in part through EERE’s State Energy Program, this initiative provides competitive funding to Maryland’s data centers to encourage energy efficiency.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s State Energy Program provides funding and technical assistance to states, territories, and the District of Columbia to enhance energy security, advance state-led energy initiatives, and maximize the benefits of decreasing energy waste. The program emphasizes the state’s role as the decision maker and administrator for program activities within the state that are tailored to their unique resources, delivery capacity, and energy goals.

The grant consists of $200,000 to help provide energy upgrades to the Kaiser Permanente data center in Silver Spring, MD. The grant is expected to save the data center over 3 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of electrical energy. Energy upgrades include replacing constant speed fans with variable speed fans in air conditioning units, updating controls to be more energy efficient, and monitoring further opportunities to save energy and reduce costs. The annual energy cost-savings of the upgrade is projected to be over $360,000.

This MEA program will help Kaiser Permanente achieve its goal of becoming carbon neutral. By prioritizing renewable energy generation, sourcing sustainable products, and improving the energy efficiency of its facilities, Kaiser Permanente has been able to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by almost 30% in the last decade and reduce water usage by 15% per square foot of building space.

“Environmental factors are inextricably linked to human health,” said Kathy Gerwig, Vice President of Employee Safety, Health and Wellness, and Environmental Stewardship at Kaiser Permanente. “Our work to protect against climate change is embedded in our operations, from how we manage our buildings, to how we purchase food and medical supplies, to how we deliver health care to our members. We’re proud to reduce our environmental impact further by introducing energy efficiencies into our IT operations in the mid-Atlantic area.”