Going green: Cool in more ways than oneLately there has been a lot of talk about going green and energy efficiency efforts. Going green has become a top priority for businesses, and data center operators are no exception. For example, Internap recently received several accolades including a Green Globes award for our Dallas data center and LEED certification at our Santa Clara facility. Green initiatives, in many cases, have not only benefited the environment but have stretched the imaginations of data center designers to think outside the box.

Changes in initial data center design and build out is a great example of efficiency changes in the industry. For example, by using recycled water for data center cooling in Santa Clara – effectively reclaiming water not suitable for drinking – more potable water is made available for public consumption. These efforts are especially critical during drought conditions. In addition, Internap uses outside air for cooling in its Seattle and Boston locations where the climate is considerably cooler and outside air is more often than not below the temperature required to cool a data center.

Across the pond we’ve seen a number of changes in using renewable resources to power data centers that are just as innovative. One interesting example that’s been gaining notoriety can be seen in Norway’s fjord-cooled data center.  This is “cool” in more ways than one. The data center is being built in a former NATO ammunitions bunker carved into the side of a mountain that sits next to a fjord. A growing number of data centers are using water directly from the earth’s reservoirs, lakes, rivers and even fjords for their cooling efforts. Now that’s cool.

Whether it’s by using outside air, alternative water sources or even by way of glaciers, going green continues to break the rules of traditional data center design. Sure, it’s not easy going green, but it’s the right thing to do, and all data center providers should be looking at ways to economize their data centers for the future. I can’t wait to see what we think of next.

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