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IBM’s Greenest-Yet Data Center

IBM’s LEED gold data center

IBM’s LEED gold data center

Worldwide, data centers left a massive carbon footprint in 2009: 121 billion metric tons, according to a Rice University study, or about 1.6 percent of worldwide carbon emissions. Without innovation, the study says, that footprint will more than triple by 2020.

To help springboard the discoveries and establish the practices IT must adapt to shrink its energy demand while data demand explodes, IBM built its greenest-ever data center, which the U.S. Green Building Council recently awarded a LEED gold certification. It’s IBM’s highest-certified data center, says Chris Molloy, distinguished engineer, IBM Global Services. The stringent certification recognizes energy and water savings, carbon-emissions reduction, resource stewardship, and indoor environmental quality.

The facility runs strategic outsourcing workloads on client equipment and two public cloud offerings. It opened in February on IBM’s Research Triangle Park campus, the company’s largest U.S. site, and has since been collecting the operational data to qualify for the LEED gold certification. The certification is IBM’s highest for a data center, following a 2008 LEED silver certification for its Boulder, Colo. data center.

The Building

IBM earned a major portion of the points needed for certification by reusing an existing building. It put the data center in a former manufacturing facility, reusing 95 percent of its original shell, recycling 90 percent of cast-off original materials, and sourcing 25 percent of newly purchased materials from recycled products. IBM says these efforts cut the building’s carbon footprint nearly in half. Because the building’s original use was manufacturing network and PC equipment, it already had the reinforced slab floors and dual-story ceilings necessary for the data center, according to Molloy.

Morgon Mae Schultz is a copy editor for MSP TechMedia




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IBM’s Greenest-Yet Data Center

IBM’s LEED gold data center

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