Apple, Google, Yahoo, and Facebook Support Sustainable Server Farms
(3BL Media/Justmeans) – Yerington, Nevada, with a population of 3,048, is a small town that has earned a significant place on the ‘Green IT’ map in the country. It has been chosen as the home to Apple’s (NASDAQ: AAPL) pioneering new solar farm. The company says that this solar project will supply renewable energy to its data center in Reno while also provide clean energy to the local power grid. The 137-acre solar farm will generate about 43.5m KWH of clean energy, equivalent to taking 6,400 passenger vehicles off road per year.
Data center sustainability means that computer server farms, the backbone of every email, document and Internet search, can be made more sustainable. Clean energy is just a small part of the larger equation. Researchers at Stanford University, Northwestern University and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have reported that server farm greenhouse gas emissions could be reduced by 80 percent if companies use state of the art IT equipment.
Since data center cooling requires large amounts of energy, another eight percent of GHG could be cut if companies moved their server farms to cooler locations. Large cloud computing companies such as Apple, Google, Facebook and Yahoo are already consolidating such sustainability factors, according to Jonathan Koomey, a research fellow at the Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance at Stanford University and a co-author of the study.
Shifting over to server farm sustainability is not necessarily cheaper in the short term, but these companies are taking the lead because they believe it can provide strategic long-term benefits for the environment as well as for the company. According to Google spokeswoman Kate Hurowitz, Google’s data centers use 50 percent less energy, which has saved the company more than $1 billion in energy costs over the years.
Google has made it a practice to put information about its server farm efficiency online, while eBay publicly documents all energy and sustainability data. Facebook has recently constructed its first data center outside the U.S. in a Swedish town where it receives all the energy for its needs from renewable sources. Facebook’s server farm in that location will also benefit from the cold weather.
Source: Green Wise Business
Image Credit: Flickr via BNL