Inspired by the farm, Yahoo opens newest green datacenter

Yahoo's new energy-efficient green data center in Lockport, N.Y. uses hydropower, a cool climate and a farm-inspired design to reduce the company's carbon footprint.
Written by Andrew Nusca, Contributor

Internet giant Yahoo on Monday officially opened "one of the world's most energy-efficient, environmentally friendly and cost-effective" data centers in Lockport, N.Y.

The facility, just 20 miles from Niagara Falls and the Canadian border, combines the first implementation of Yahoo's "green datacenter" design and Lockport's cool climate to keep electricity usage down.

Drawing inspiration from chickens, Yahoo calls its green design the "Yahoo Computing Coop." It mimics the long, narrow layout of a chicken coop to encourage natural air flow, and utilizes prevaling winds and hydropower to keep the 7,200 sq. ft. server buildings cool.

The result: it takes less than 1 percent of the buildings' total energy consumption to cool the facility, Yahoo says. Officially, that's a low power usage effectiveness, or PUE, of 1.08. (The industry average is 1.92.)

If you're not familiar with PUE, consider these stats from Yahoo:

  • The new datacenter consumes at least 40 percent less energy and 95 percent less water than conventional data centers.
  • It saves enough energy to power more than 9,000 New York state households annually.
  • It saves enough energy to power approximately 300,000 CFL light bulbs for one year running 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • It saves enough energy to power approximately 1.1 million laptops for a year.
  • It saves more water per year than flows over the Niagara Falls for a minute straight. (Average flow: 4 million cubic feet per minute.)
  • It saves enough water in one year to provide drinking water for 200,000 people to sustain a healthy life. (Approx. 180 gallons per year per person is the average amount of drinking water over a lifetime.)

The design was recognized this year by the U.S. Department of Energy in the form of a sustainability grant of $9.9 million, the largest such award from the DOE's Green IT grant program.

Hydropower for the facility will be supplied by the utility company NYPA.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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