Internap earns emerging green building certification with specific data center focus

The Green Globes rating is one of few that requires an onsite audit, dedicated green management resources.

As if you didn't have enough green building or green technology ratings to worry about, get ready for another one that includes a specific green data center component, the Green Globes certification.

The specification, which originated in Canada, is managed in the United States by the Green Building Initiative (GBI). The first public data center in the United States to embrace the designation is a site managed by Internap Networks Services of Santa Clara, Calif., which found appeal in its data-center-specific focus and in the fact that the certification requires a rigorous on-site audit by GBI. Other companies that have opted to seek Green Globes certification for their buildings include the Pfizer Clinical Research Unit in Connecticut, the Pizza Hut headquarters in Texas, and Whole Foods locations in Colorado, Massachusetts, New York and Texas.

"Someone actually goes and confirms everything on site," said Randy Ortiz, director of data center design and engineering for Internap. He added: "We have customers interested in being in a facility that is sustainable." Another requirement: Your data center needs to employ someone specifically trained in energy-efficiency best practices.

Ortiz said Internap's co-location facility in Santa Clara earned the Green Globes certification due to a number of specific factors including:

  • Use of reclaimed water: The data center uses reclaimed rather than potable water as its cooling source. This will save upwards of 76,000 gallons of water per day and 27.8 million gallons annually (46.5 Olympic swimming pools) when compared with a traditional data center design.
  • Building materials reuse: Almost all of the exterior construction materials found a home in the new facility.
  • Overall energy-efficiency: Compared with other data centers like it, the Internap facility is approximately 50 percent more energy-efficient because of the lighting and lighting controls technologies that it uses.
  • Green power: Internap is purchasing green power offsets to this end; it doesn't actually use a renewable or green power source because of the building's geographic location, according to Ortiz. "An enterprise might be able to choose a geographic location based on this fact, but we need to go where our customers are," he said.

In addition to Green Globes, Internap will also seek Energy Star and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certifications for the data center, Ortiz said. "Because there is no standard certification, we felt it better off that we try to attain all three," he said. "A lot of times, the requirements are similar."

The biggest challenge moving forward will be maintaining tight control in the entire facility, Ortiz admitted. That's because even though Internap is focused on investing in the most energy-efficient technologies possible doesn't mean its tenants will subscribe to the same philosophy, he said.

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