The power of Green, it’s working! That’s right, growth of the world’s electricity consumed by data centers has slowed substantially despite the rapid growth in the number and power of data centers. The electricity conservation is directly linked to the adoption of Green friendly tactics of powering and cooling of many forward-thinking data centers.
A recent study executed by Stanford Professor Jonathan G. Koomey, PhD by request of the New York Times found that approximately 1.3% of the world’s electricity is being consumed by data centers. However, the growth rate from 2000-2005 indicated that by 2010, data centers should have been consuming 2.2% of the world’s electricity. What slowed the growth? Well the recession actually helped (maybe the only time anyone will ever say that) but more significantly, through an industry-wide effort to make data centers more eco-friendly via various energy saving techniques.
Green data centers go beyond environmental benefits– they impact the “green” in the wallets of the companies that build them too. Sustainability is the realization that economic and environmental objectives are not counterpoised, but are complementary. When environmental factors such as rising prices of oil and the carbon footprint of data centers are taken into consideration, it becomes clear that a sustainable approach is more affordable in the long run. Burning oil and coal to cool centers is expensive, a sustainable solution is to use water or cool air. Instead of building massive low-density data centers, switching to compact high-density centers makes energy cost and facility construction far more affordable. Not to mention governments around the world provide extra incentives for sustainable consideration.
In honor of Spring, a time when everything is turning green, here is a list of 7 Green Data Centers, saving the Earth one stored bit at a time.
In Niagara County, New York, Yahoo has reduced its cooling power consumption from 50% of its total electrical use, to 1%. How? With its air flow boosting Chicken Coop design.
Citigroup’s green Data Center in Frankfurt, Germany became the world’s first LEED Platinum Certified Data Center. Utilization of Reverse Osmosis conserves 50 million liters of water per year, operating on 30% less power than traditional data centers, and has literally natural insulation and ventilation using plants and air flow to maintain the facility’s temperature.
The Mac Daddy of Green data centers is owned by Apple. Their LEED Platinum Certified Data Center in Maiden, North Carolina, once fully completed, will be powered by the largest end-user-owned onsite solar array in the United States, and a Bio-Gas fuel cell with a combined renewable energy saving potential of 82 million Kilowatt hours per year.
The Pionen Data Center in Stockholm, Sweden, converted a military bomb shelter built to withstand a Hydrogen bomb into a 007 styled, green friendly Data Center. Located nearly 100 feet below bedrock, the data center is kept cool by the cave’s low temperature along with the brisk mountain air and local water systems.
The incredibly efficient PGi data center in Olathe, Kansas requires 75% less coolant tonnage by utilizing a “cold row.” This specialized, intelligent cooling system consolidates cool air, recognizing where it needs to be distributed, and then targets that area.
Facebook, after an embarrassing report that 53.2% of their data center power came from burning coal, facebook green lighted a green friendly data center in Sweden. The plant is run almost entirely on hydroelectric power and is cooled by opening vents to the Arctic Circle’s naturally frigid climate.
Google reclaimed a paper mill on the coast of Finland to become the world’s first seawater cooled data center. The seawater pump cooling system reduces the Power Usage Effectivenes (PUE), an industry standard, down to 1.1, which is nearly half that of an non-green data center.
Furthermore, there is a Green IT Cloud Summit, which is hitting Washington DC on April 18, 2012. Various government officials and technology providers will meet to discuss and plan for the growing interest in Green IT, sustainability and the adoption of cloud computing.
The focus of the 2012 Green IT and Cloud Computing Summit is on innovation made by the private sector and the performance goals set by President Obama’s Executive Order 13514 on Federal Leadership in Energy, Environmental, and Economic Performance. The 2012 Summit will cover topics including clean energy, water efficiency, achieving zero waste, greening the supply chain, and sustainable communities.