What does it take to earn the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) nod for a data center? I'm told it's not an easy task, but operator Equinix has just gotten the nod for its SV2 International Business Exchange facility in Silicon Valley, California.
LEED is actually a building design verification that looks at whether a facility is optimized for energy savings, water efficiency, carbon dioxide emissions and so on. The Equinix facility that just received LEED certification is actually a retrofit that was completed in 2009; this retrofit is saving the company roughly 4 million kilowatt hours per year in energy. Based on this amount, the cost of the retrofit will supposedly pay for itself in about four years.
The efficiency gains come courtesy of the following:
- The installation of air-side economizers
- New fans that incorporate variable frequency drives
- The installation of LED fixtures and occupancy sensors
This in itself is an achievement, but I was also struck by a couple of other things that Equinix has done to help customers choosing to outsource their infrastructure in its data centers. Notably, Equinix enterprise customers in Europe can calculate their carbon dioxide footprint through one of its services. The company also is quite active in Singapore. Not only is it participating in a water reclamation research program in conjunction with the Singapore Public Utilities board, it has achieved a 30 percent energy savings in its data center there by automating the controls for its high-efficiency fans, so that they respond better to fluctuations in ambient operating conditions.
The best practices that Equinix applied in the Silicon Valley retrofit and the subsequent LEED recognition will be used in all new facilities that the operator builds. The company currently manages 49 International Business Exchange data centers worldwide.