Too many datacenter certifications?

Do we really need another player certifying green datacenters?
Written by David Chernicoff, Contributor

When the press release announcing that Internap network Services datacenter crossed my desk announcing that the facility was the first datacenter to achieve Green Globes certification, the first thing I had to do was figure out what that meant. What I found was an assessment and rating system developed in Canada and beginning to make an appearance in the US. According to the Green Globes website, the Green Building Initiative is the US group backing the Green Globes rating system.

This sent me off on another web search; I'm not unfamiliar with organizations that provide certifications to datacenters, but this was the first time that this name had come up. When I talk to datacenter operators I only hear two names when it comes to certification; the Uptime Institute for their Tier rating system for datacenter operations and the LEED rating system from the U.S. Green Building Council.

It appears that the Green Globe initiative in the US has the backing of ANSI and that the standard is enumerated in the ANSI/GBI 01-2019 Standard Document. There website also includes a criteria comparison (with the data points selected by Green Globes) that compares their standard against the much more widely accepted LEEDs standard. They claim that they are easier to utilize and far less expensive than attaining LEED certification. From their website:

"Green Globes is North America's first web-enabled, fully interactive green building assessment tool that allows building professionals and owners to augment their design, in the case of new construction, or incorporate sustainability operations, in the case of existing buildings, and rate the building's proposed or actual sustainability performance. The system features allow building owners and managers to have first-hand knowledge at any given time how their building is scoring. If a building achieves at least 35% of the total number of 1,000 points, it qualifies for certification. Upon ordering the certification, a third-party Assessor appointed by the GBI begins to work with the owner and team during the assessment period which culminates in an on-site audit of the building. Green Globes places an emphasis on benchmarking and improvements, providing an easier, affordable way to go green. Green Globes rating and certification process can be completed for a fraction of the combined hard/soft costs and time associated with LEED. Green Globes is ideal for complex or specialty buildings that cannot be certified with LEED."

Now certification for specialty facilities that can't be certified using the LEED guidelines is a good idea. But competing head-to-head with LEED in certifying buildings that are notorious energy hogs, such as data centers, seems counterproductive. Especially when the prime selling point on the web site seems to be that GG certification is cheaper to obtain.  Selecting service providers is a complex enough process; having to then filter through a list of competing certifications seems simply to ad work to the process.  Time, and the marketplace, will have to be the judge.

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