Green Data Centers Blossom

Posted by: Olga Kharif on May 30, 2007

My colleague Rachael King is guest-blogging today on green data centers. Here’s her blog:

When 365 Main finishes building its new data center in Newark, CA, later this year, it will likely be only one of a handful of green data centers in the U.S. Data centers are notorious energy hogs due to the vast quantities of electricity required to power and cool servers and other computing equipment. Yet, very few companies are willing to build green data centers because of the extra cost and complexity involved. On Wednesday, 365 Main said it would not only comply with the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) building certification system for the Newark data center but for all future data center builds as well.

This is a huge financial commitment. On average, it costs about $1,000 per square foot to build a new data center. But 365 Main estimates that to build a 100,000 square foot LEED-certified data center will add roughly 5-10% onto construction costs, as much as $5 million to $10 million. The company says it will not pass those increased costs to its customers. “We will reduce operational costs via efficiencies that we gain from being green,” says Miles Kelly, vice president of corporate strategy at 365 Main. Kelly points to the new cooling systems which are 30% more efficient than previous models, saying they’ll contribute $500,000 in savings per year and that the extra $10 million will be made up over 20 years.

Still, 365 Main is fielding more requests from clients concerned about energy-efficiency. For instance, 365 Main client Craigslist.org keeps an eye on page views per kilowatt hour. Craigslist.org CTO Eric Scheide says the company currently consumes about 175,000 page views per kilowatt hour. “We feel that number is pretty good but we’re trying to make it better,” he says. “Given the opportunity, we’d be pleased to go into a green facility.”

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BusinessWeek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, Douglas MacMillan, and Spencer Ante dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. One of the first mainstream media tech blogs, Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.

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