Facebook Shows Why Green Data Centers Matter

Facebook’s move to share the details of the energy efficiency of its server and data center designs in its new Oregon-based facility is the latest example of how green data centers are now a must-have competitive advantage for any leading Internet company these days.

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Proving that even small data centers can save big on energy costs, The Green Grid helped the EPA improve energy efficiency by 20 percent at its modestly-sized data center near Washington, DC. For the EPA, that translates into $15,000 a year in savings and all it only required cheap, easy-to-implement measures. Now, think of all those small businesses and startups that are better served by putting that money into growing their businesses. Seems like reason enough to embrace Green IT to me.

LEED for Data Centers Coming Soon?

Data centers are energy hogs, but the country’s most prominent green building standard, LEED, doesn’t adequately address their special design considerations. That looks set to change, however, as the U.S. Green Building Council, which develops LEED, is considering tailoring existing LEED rating systems to evaluate green data centers. Brendan Owens, the Green Building Council’s vice president of technical development for LEED, tells us that as part of that effort the nonprofit organization is also evaluating which tools would be best for assessing green data centers.

Owens said that he is actively working with The Green Grid and other groups that have been doing detailed technical work on establishing benchmarks for green data centers. Any provisions added to LEED regarding data centers would draw from this technical work. But he would not give a timeline, stressing that a final decision has not yet been made. “It will be decided based on our interaction with market leaders we are talking with,” Owens said. “We want to serve the best needs of the market.”
Read More about LEED for Data Centers Coming Soon?

Low-Hanging Fruit for Green Data Centers: Plain Old Air

Data center builders on the cutting edge of sustainability are increasingly turning to a low tech, widely available and free approach to cut cooling costs and energy consumption: outside air. On Thursday, the Green Grid, a trade group dedicated to reducing energy consumption in data centers, plans to release free online tools to help data center operators determine how cost-effective and useful outside cooling is at their location.
Operators can enter their ZIP codes and various data center energy info, and the tool will spit out the possible energy savings of using fresh air. For example a 1 MW data center in San Jose, Calif., with power costing 12.78 cents per kilowatt-hour, could save $66,000 per year with outside cooling. Not bad. The Green Grid is also offering up a couple handy-dandy maps of the U.S. that show places where outside cooling (and water-side cooling) is more effective.
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Traditional data centers are largely closed environments that have carefully controlled temperatures and large chillers that keep servers and IT equipment cool enough to operate effectively. Operators don’t want dust and outside elements floating in and mucking with all that sensitive gear. But as concerns over energy consumption of data centers rises — particularly the large amount of energy needed for cooling — companies from Google (s goog) to IBM (s IBM) to Sun (s JAVA), are adding in more ways to naturally cool down equipment using outside air. Whether that’s as simple knocking down a wall or using tubes to pipe in outside air, companies are finding that outside air is becoming an important part of the equation. And, best of all, it’s free.

So what’s the next great new smartphone going to be?

big-3-phonesWe mobile tech junkies are never satisfied, we freely admit it and won’t argue that point.  That means that we spend weeks and weeks waiting for the Next Big Thing (NBT) to come along.  Once it’s released we can’t rest until we get to play with it and we ooh and aah with the rest of geekdom and life is good.

The problem is that in a very short time we are soon over the buzz and we’re ready for the NBT once again.  We went through this process with the iPhone 3G, the G1 Android phone and then the Blackberry Storm.  Sure there were a bunch of other phones alongside of the big three but nothing floated our boat.  We played with those three big smartphones and were all agiggle with them until reality set in.

palm-pre12They’re all great phones but we’re fickle geeks and now we’re ready for the NBT to appear.  So what’s it going to be?  That Palm Pre looks pretty darn special but lets face it, so did the last three.  The luster fades so fast when you’re like us and we need new gadgets.  So what will catch our fancy this time?  What phone are you waiting impatiently to get to touch?