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Drawn in: At Hewlett-Packard’s data center in Billingham, England, large fans pull in fresh air.

The 155,000-square-foot facility mimics the narrow design of a chicken coop and features louvers along the sides of the building so that prevailing winds can flow freely throughout the halls. On particularly hot days, the center can activate an evaporative cooling system, which uses less energy than traditional chillers. That means the facility uses at least 95 percent less water than a conventional data center, and 40 percent less energy—enough to power more than 9,000 households annually. What’s more, with its preconstructed metal components, the chicken-coop structure can be assembled in less than six months.

“There’s a good case to be made for the return on investment on a lot of green practices,” says Page. “This data center was cheaper and faster to build, in addition to being more efficient on the operating-expenditure side.”

The information-management company Iron Mountain, meanwhile, is taking advantage of natural geothermal conditions to slash energy consumption by locating a data center in a former limestone mine, 22 stories below ground. Iron Mountain’s storage facility in Butler County, Pennsylvania, houses Room 48, whose racks of servers rely on the natural cooling properties of the limestone walls to remain at 13 ºC. Iron Mountain also developed a high-static air pressure differential cooling system that relies on high-velocity ducts, located in the cold aisles separating rows of servers, and linear return ducts in its hot aisles. The system creates winds that naturally cause cold air to sink and hot air to rise and exit the room through perforated ceiling tiles. The absence of air conditioners not only freed up about 30 percent more space in Room 48 but cut energy consumption for cooling by 10 to 15 percent compared with traditional data centers.

These are the kinds of unheralded changes that can really make a difference, says Mark Lafferty, director of strategic solutions at technology services provider CDW. “The really basic, non-glamorous, non-sexy stuff companies do can have a dramatic effect on the amount of resource consumption in a data center,” he says.

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Credits: Yahoo, HP

Tagged: Business, Business Impact, Corporate Energy Strategy

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