Datacenters use a lot of power, consumed by two main usages: the power required to run the actual equipment and then the power required to cool the equipment. The first category is addressed by designing computers and storage systems that are more and more power-efficient. And to bring down the cooling costs datacenter designers try to use natural ways to cool the equipment. Many datacenters have to be located near people-concentrations to manage the equipment, but there are also many circumstances where the datacenter can be miles away from the users and don’t need a lot of local management. Examples of this are the ‘mass’ datacenters like Google or Facebook: these DC’s are built around many standarised servers and storage-arrays and the actual users of the systems are located all around the world. After the initial build of a datacenter there is not much staff required to keep it running: especially datacenters that provide mass-storage or computing power don’t need to be near population centers. Datacenters in arctic locations where outside air provides all cooling are getting more popular as cooling and electricity are the two main variable cost components
A green data center is a repository for the storage, management, and dissemination of data in which the mechanical, lighting, electrical and computer systems are designed for maximum energy efficiency and minimum environmental impact. The construction and operation of a green data center includes advanced technologies and strategies.
Here are some examples:
- Minimizing the footprints of the buildings
- The use of low-emission building materials, carpets and paints
- Sustainable landscaping
- Waste recycling
- Installation of catalytic converters on backup generators
- The use of alternative energy technologies such as photovoltaics, heat pumps, and evaporative cooling
- The use of hybrid or electric company vehicles
Building and certifying a green data center or other facility can be expensive up front, but long-term cost savings can be realized on operations and maintenance. Another advantage is the fact that green facilities offer employees a healthy, comfortable work environment. In addition, green facilities enhance relations with local communities.
There is growing pressure from environmentalists and, increasingly, the general public for governments to offer green incentives: monetary support for the creation and maintenance of ecologically responsible technologies.