Global manufacturing and technology leader Emerson likes to not only talk the talk but also walk the
walk. So when it came time for the company to design and build a new global data center, Emerson
knew it needed to deploy state-of-the-art technologies to make the facility as energy efficient as
possible. After all, data center energy-efficiency solutions are what Emerson delivers to its own
customers. Further, Emerson Network Power, a business of Emerson, advises its customers on ways to
improve the energy efficiency of their data centers through a 10-step process called Energy Logic,
and the company makes and sells technologies that make this possible.
The result is the recently opened Emerson Global Data Center on the company’s St. Louis, Mo.,
headquarters campus. The data center utilizes all 10 of the Energy Logic steps and boasts the
largest solar array in Missouri. These and other initiatives have resulted in a data center that is
31 percent more energy efficient than traditional data centers and likely will receive LEED Gold
certification from the U.S. Green Building Council – a rare designation for a data center.
Emerson’s culture is grounded in three key attributes: a highly talented workforce that combines
engineering and technology to help customers do things that have never been done before. This
culture could not have been more present than in the design and construction of the new data center.
For starters, the team that worked on the project was different from most data center projects,
which usually feature a facilities team designing the building and a separate IT team figuring out
how to fill the building with gear. For Emerson, there was a single team of both IT and facilities
experts who carefully designed every detail. This unique team approach, combined with the use of
Emerson technologies and engineering prowess, created a number of unique features in the data center
that have positive environmental attributes. In terms of Emerson’s business strategy, the company
helps its customers operate more efficiently, and the new data center is a showcase for this. Since
its opening, the data center has been used extensively for customer visits so that Emerson’s own
customers can see first-hand what is possible in terms of maximizing the energy efficiency of data
centers. Further, Emerson is committed to driving continued technological progress and setting new
industry standards. The data center project highlights Emerson’s desire to lead by example,
showing the industry how to undertake such a process.
There are two key impacts of the new Emerson Global Data Center on society. First, the data center
is an example of how companies can manage their operations in a more energy-efficient way. For
instance, by building Missouri’s largest solar array on the roof of the data center, Emerson serve
as an example for other companies of the importance of renewable energy sources – especially when
one considers that Emerson itself supplies technologies that make solar and wind power possible. The
7,800-square-foot rooftop solar array, containing more than 550 solar panels, can generate 100
kilowatts of energy.
The second key impact of the data center revolves around Emerson’s unique approach to the design
and construction of the facility. As noted above, Emerson created a single team of IT and facilities
experts to design the building, and the company went a step further by putting the IT team in charge
of the overall project. This led to a number of design and construction decisions that ultimately
led to important environmental benefits. For example:
- By locating heat-exchange units on the roof rather than on property adjacent to the data center
– the traditional approach – Emerson saved more than 2.5 miles of copper piping and created a
more scalable cooling infrastructure.
- More than 80 percent of the waste generated during construction was diverted from landfills.
The design and construction of the Emerson Global Data Center was led by Stephen C. Hassell, vice
president and chief information officer. While his IT team was critical in the day-to-day management
of the project, Emerson’s top executives, including Chairman, CEO, and President David N. Farr,
were highly engaged in the data center decision-making process. In fact, Mr. Farr was an advocate
for the rooftop solar array. All told, a team of 150 people was instrumental in making the project a
The Emerson Global Data Center is expected to achieve LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green
Building Council – a rare designation for a data center. Key results include:
- The data center is 31 percent more energy efficient than traditional data centers.
- Traditional data center do not have many, if any, windows. The front of the Emerson data center is
lined with windows to maximize natural light and reduce electricity use.
- The data center is home to a 7,800-square-foot solar array – the largest in Missouri – that
can generate 100 kilowatts of energy.
- More than 80 percent of the waste generated during construction of the data center has been
diverted from landfills.
- By locating heat-exchange units on the roof rather than on the property adjacent to the data
center, Emerson saved more than 2.5 miles of copper piping and created a more scalable cooling
- Emerson implemented all 10 of its Energy Logic steps for maximizing the energy efficiency of a
data center, making its center a showcase for its customers.
The Emerson Global Data Center is a showcase that the company, especially its Emerson Network Power
business, is using to illustrate to customers how they can improve the efficiency of their own data
centers. In fact, more than 100 customers have toured the center since its opening, enabling the
data center to serve as a critical platform for driving sales. And the reach of the data center has
been truly global as customers from the United States, China, Japan, Israel, and Canada have toured
the center to learn the unique methods Emerson used to design the center and how to make their own
centers more energy efficient.
Meanwhile, the architecture firm that designed the data center has begun to adopt some of the unique
design features in its ongoing work for similar projects – particularly the location of the
heat-exchange units on the rooftop.
With energy costs expected to continue to increase, the Emerson Global Data Center will only become
more important to the company in the future. The rooftop solar array, combined with the Energy Logic
efficiency initiatives, will ensure that the data center continues to pays dividends to the
Meanwhile, the Emerson Global Data Center is a key component of a larger data center consolidation
initiative within Emerson. In fact, the company is in the process of consolidating more than 100
data centers globally to just four. In addition to the St. Louis data center, Emerson has completed
a renovation of a data center in Marshalltown, Iowa, and the final two centers are expected to be
located in Europe and Asia.
As noted earlier, Emerson customers – specifically those of Emerson Network Power – are key
stakeholders in the new data center. After all, one of Emerson’s core business strategies is to
help data center managers more efficiently operate their centers, and the Emerson Global Data Center
is a real-life example of how that can be done. That is why Emerson has worked so hard to give its
customers a chance to tour the data center, essentially enabling Emerson to quite literally prove
that its technologies work. In fact, more than 100 customers from the United States, China, Japan,
Israel, and Canada have toured the Emerson Global Data Center.
Emerson’s annual reports provide details on financial performance as well as discussions of the
company’s successful business strategies. External and internal communications regarding the data
center have been extensive, including:
Opening Day -- The data center opened its doors in July 2009. Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon and U.S. Rep.
Roy Blunt attended a special opening ceremony. The energy-efficiency attributes of the data center
were the talk of the event, with Gov. Nixon even climbing a ladder with Emerson CEO David Farr for
an up-close look at the rooftop solar array. The significance of the event was covered by news
organizations in Missouri, as well as by important technology and environmental trade publications.
Meanwhile, the St. Louis Regional Chamber & Growth Association is spotlighting the data center in
two of its publications designed to attract investment in the St. Louis region.
Online – The Emerson Web site houses background information, case studies, videos, and white
papers that focus on data center energy efficiency, the Emerson Global Data Center, and Energy
Third Parties – One of the key avenues Emerson is utilizing to report the results is through the
LEED certification process of the U.S. Green Building Council. Emerson is nearing completion of the
certification process and anticipates achieving LEED Gold status for the data center. This will be a
critical validation of the data center’s energy-efficiency attributes.