Green IT Innovation: Data Center Efficiencies to Reduce Carbon Footprint – Part 2

Green Data CenterAccess to Renewably-Generated Electricity – A Key Criterion for your next Data Center.

Electricity is the most important energy resource your Data Center (DC) will need for operations. At the company where I helped lead Green IT efforts, one of our typical DCs consumed $650,000 of electricity each year (more than 13 million kilowatts) and, like every DC; we needed a reliable source because you never want to be running off your uninterruptable power supplies (UPS) or diesel generators very long. Add in your goal to minimize greenhouse gas emissions and you begin to understand the challenge that finding the right location can pose.

There are many choices for green electricity generation: Wind, solar, biomass and geothermal. However, hydro-electricity is, hands down, your best current option. A 2007 report by Worldwatch Institute and REN21 concludes that Hydro makes up fully 15% of all electricity generation globally, and is the clear leader in cost at 3-4 U.S. cents/kilowatt-hour.

Finding a data center site that offers access to hydroelectric is not as difficult as it might seem. An article on ExpansionManagement.com reveals, “Microsoft evaluated communities around the world against 31 criteria important for locating a data center and Quincy (in central Washington) ranked at the top, said Michael Manos, senior director of the company’s data center operations,” in a large part because of the area’s proximity to five hydroelectric dams on the Columbia River offering virtually unlimited, inexpensive and green electricity.  Read the Full Story here.

Next time: “Greening Up your Data Center from the Inside Out.”

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