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wind powered data center

Our efficient data centers were green before it was cool.

(Unless you’re talking about free cooling.)

100% wind power. Low PUEs. Since 2007.

As happy as we are to see the industry giants come around to renewable energy and highly energy efficient data centers, we have to make a quick humble brag. This stuff is in our charter. We’ve been pursuing green enterprise computing since 2007, with an average Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) of 1.25 or lower (our new facility is just 1.14 PUE).

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Here's How We Do It:

  • Free cooling year-round
  • Modular data center “pod” design
  • Hot/cold aisle containment
  • Focus on virtualization
  • Energy Star equipment
  • Power supply efficiency minimums
  • Power and temperature measurements and tracking
  • Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) purchased for 100% of annual energy use

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The Impact of Efficient Data Centers

The data center industry sucks down over 30 GW of energy per year and that amount increases every day. The carbon footprint of a medium 10 MW data center can range from 3,000,000 to over 130,000,000 kilograms of C02.

Reducing that carbon footprint through efficiency and renewable energy use has a dramatic effect. Depending on the electric grid region, PUE improvements can eliminate millions of pounds of CO2 emissions:

Most data centers are using some form of virtualization these days, in which servers can run multiple virtual machines (VMs) on a single piece of hardware, using more available power and resources. This is the cornerstone of cloud computing and increases CPU utilization by 40-60%.

Virtualizing just 100 servers is the equivalent of planting 1,569 trees or taking 89 cars off the street—and a typical data center has way more than 100 servers.

Data centers would be the 5th largest consumer of energy in the world if they were a country. By increasing efficiency and driving the adoption of renewables, the industry can make a huge difference and demonstrate how green business is good business.

Of course, saving energy also saves money. For colocation customers, better use of energy means lower costs, especially as the industry edges towards billing by the kWh. Our WY2 facility can save up to 64.5% in energy costs compared to an average data center.

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Green Data Center Design

Modular design and hot/cold aisle containment ensure the cold air entering server rows and the hot air exiting them don’t mix, increasing cooling efficiency. hot cold aisle containment
Our Cheyenne headquarters is uniquely suited to year-round free cooling; significantly improving efficiency as CRAC units and chillers rarely need to be turned on.
Regular measurements and reporting keep our PUE at optimal levels, even as we increase equipment density and add customers.

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How Do We Get Greener From Here?

Green House Data strives for improvement in all operations, not the least of which are our sustainability efforts. Going forward in 2014, we’ve begun more carefully tracking the energy and water use of our facilities in order to create an annual sustainability report. This report would also include corporate travel, amount of waste generated, amount of greenhouse gas emissions compared to previous years, and non-energy related metrics like charitable donations and volunteer hours.

The company also recently became the first certified B Corp in Wyoming and one of the first data centers to pass the assessment. B Corporations are certified by the nonprofit organization B Lab as having voluntarily met the rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency within the overall goal of redefining success in business. Green House Data joins other B Corps like New Belgium Brewing, Etsy, Renewable Choice and Patagonia. As of January 2014, there are more than 900 Certified B Corporations from over 60 industries and 29 countries, representing a diverse multi-billion dollar marketplace.

Future goals include:

  • overall reduction in emissions as adjusted for company growth
  • lower PUE and CUE (carbon usage effectiveness) in all owned facilities
  • increase in volunteer hours donated by employees
  • decrease in corporate travel
  • greater allowance or reward for public transit, walking, or biking to work
  • growing the Green House Gives program to help NGOs and non-profits meet technology requirements

 

Sources and Further Reading