Vikas is a staff writer for the Sustainable Development news and editorial section on Justmeans. He is an MBA with 20 years of managerial and entrepreneurial experience and global travel. He is the author of "The Power of Money" (Scholars, 2003), a book that presents a revolutionary monetary economic theory on poverty alleviation in the developing world. Vikas is also the official writer...
Building Green: FedEx Shows the Way
FedEx has shown an exemplary commitment to the cause of greening the environment in different ways. As a shipping giant with large needs for building facilities, FedEx realizes the importance of green construction and how significantly it can contribute to the cause of environment conservation. The company has decided to follow the highest green construction standards for all its new buildings, and pursue LEED certification for its new building projects.
FedEx global headquarters in Memphis, TN has just achieved the LEED Gold certification. This recognition comes as a part of the Energy and Environmental Design program of the U.S. Green Building Council. The entire complex comprises nine buildings, totaling an area of more than one million square feet. The complex came up in 2000, and it already included water and energy-conserving HVAC and plumbing installations. In 2008, FedEx decided to pursue a LEED certification for the complex, and began to upgrade the building's environmental standards in consultation with S.D. Keppler & Company.
The company has gone a step further now with its launch of its first green data center, which is located next to the FedEx Rocky Mountain Tech Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado. This is a part of the company's long-term vision to minimize the carbon footprint and reduce its own energy costs too. This green data center, named the Enterprise Data Center-West (EDC-W) is pursuing a LEED certification. This is an ambitious effort considering the fact that advanced computing facilities such as this one are traditionally known to be energy-hogs. The computing equipment that such centers house needs to be kept cool for its proper functioning.
FedEx decided to take on this environment-friendly challenge for its data center using innovative process to enhance the energy efficiencies of the facility. The EDC-W was built with a number of redundant electrical and mechanical systems which can adjust the amount of energy consumed in accordance with the level of demand. Energy effectiveness of such data centers is measured in terms of their Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) ratio. The EDC-W has achieved a PUE of almost half of an average data center, and is now quite close to the point of perfect energy efficiency.
FedEx has also recently earned the LEED Gold certification for its new Las Vegas FedEx Express facility. This facility has achieved a reduction in indoor water use by 49 percent using innovative low flow plumbing fixtures. It has also managed to cut down its energy usage by 42 percent over an average building by using energy-saving technologies such as skylites and evaporative cooling. Nearly 75 percent of the facility's regularly occupied spaces are sunlit, which helps to bring down the need for electric lighting. FedEx also runs its in-house environmental program called EarthSmart Solutions that is engaged in identifying environment-friendly solutions for the company.
Photo Credit: rpichler