As cloud and general computing continues to expand, the sprawling data centers whose servers and other IT equipment support it are multiplying on the ground. They take up space, use a lot of energy and by 2020 will emit more carbon dioxide than the airline industry. Today in Louisville, Kentucky, at Appliance Park, GE Appliances & Lighting unveiled a new data center that joins an elite handful of data centers that have received Platinum LEED certification from the US. Green Building Council and together point the way forward for ensuring that the inexorable increase in cloud and other computing’s earth-based infrastructure is sustainable.
Advanced security features abound, like this optical hand scanner and three monitored “man traps.”
While GE’s new facility hums with computing power—its servers are designed to operate at 18 to 24 kilowatts per cabinet—it enjoys energy savings of 34 percent compared to a typical, code-compliant building. A combination of high-efficiency cooling systems and high-density servers reduces the data center’s footprint, lowering the amount of energy needed to cool the space. Ultra-low-flow water fixtures ensure that water consumption inside the building is 42 percent less than the industry baseline; outside it’s 100 percent. Finally, GE has offset 35 percent of the predicted annual energy consumption by purchasing off-site renewable energy.
The spirit behind these innovations is part of Appliance Park’s heritage: in 1954, GE bought the first commercial UNIVAC computer for the campus when it opened. In 2011, to get LEED platinum certification, an honor bestowed on only 6 percent of LEED certified building, GE: maintained 98.3 percent of existing, unused factory space; sourced 50.7 percent of construction materials regionally; used 30.2 percent recycled materials in construction; and recycled 85.4 percent of on-site generated construction waste.
Read more about today’s announcement.