ThedaCare Health System: Server Room Optimization


  • Financial benefits (savings or cost avoidance): Annual savings of $67K in energy costs plus additional savings in infrastructure and equipment costs.
  • Environmental benefit: Equivalent to removal of 118 passenger vehicles or serves electricity needs of 78 homes for one year.
  • Other measurable outcomes: First Healthcare System in Wisconsin to implement this Best Management Practice.

Health care information systems are increasingly hungry for memory on servers which greatly increases cost of equipment, energy to run equipment, and infrastructure to support this increase.


The solution is Virtualization which offers organizations the ability to run multiple applications on a single server.

  • Each application runs as a protected virtual machine (VM), sharing resources like CPU and memory. This approach yields 80 percent or greater server utilization rates, which provides companies with significantly higher ROI on their server investments.
  • Consolidating servers when implementing a virtualization solution, reduces the number of physical servers they need to operate, manage, and support -thereby lowering the total cost of ownership of their servers.
  •  Fewer servers-even when running at higher levels of utilization-consume less energy and require less cooling.
  • Virtualization offers more efficient and higher utilization of IT resources.
  • Traditionally, applications have run on dedicated servers. Most of those servers run at very low levels of utilization, often in the single digits-almost always below 20 percent and rarely above 50 percent, even in best-case scenarios.

Implementation Process

Bringing energy efficiency to server rooms.

·         Simplest, No-Cost, or Very-Low-Cost Measures

o    Determine computational functions / Turn off any unused servers

o    Increase your cooling supply air temperature set point to 78 degrees

o    Examine power backup requirements

·         Airflow management:

o    Install blanking panels

o    Plug holes,

o    Install “chimneys”

o    “Cold aisle containment”

o    Variable frequency drives on cooling units

o    Thermostats in aisles

o    Use cooling systems with economizers

o    Energy efficiency awareness training for IT custodial and facility staff

o    Consider airflow isolation measures

Lessons Learned/Recommendations

Share difficulties or barriers to acceptance/utilization that were overcome, or that had to be worked around, and strategies used by the hospital to overcome those barriers.

Demographic Information

ThedaCare has 6100+ employees serving five hospitals and thirty+ clinics and other facilities and is the largest employer in North East Wisconsin.

Facility Contact Information

Name of Contact: Paul A. Linzmeyer, Sustainability Team Leader 


Phone number: 920-735-7336

The Team

Team Chairs: Rick Rohde and Dan Planert, IT Systems Analysts

Paul Thompson, IT System Analyst

Subject Matter Expert: Brandon Hardder, Liebert HVAC System Representative

Download Case Study from ThedaCare