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How green is my data center? Sun says, ‘Very’

sun-broomfield-data-centerSun Microsystems today announced it had finished building its new, über-efficient data center in Broomfield, Colorado. The company says the facility will reduce electricity costs by more than $1 million (US), cut annual carbon dioxide emissions by 11,000 metric tonnes and trim Sun’s US carbon footprint by 6 percent.

Sun has already unveiled similar, high-efficiency data centers in Santa Clara, California; Blackwater, UK; and Bangalore, India. Building on those construction experiences, the company says it will also offer to help its customers retrofit and/or build their own data centers with equally small eco-footprints.

“As a company we’ve achieved our first 20 percent reduction in electricity usage since 2002, and the Broomfield datacenter is a great step forward in meeting our goal of another 20 percent reduction,” said Dave Douglas, Sun’s chief sustainability officer and senior vice president of cloud computing.

Part of a global consolidation effort that has compressed Sun’s total data center floor space by 60 percent, the new Broomfield facility features a floor area of only 126,000 square feet (11,706 square meters), compared to the previous Colorado data center size of 496,000 square feet (46,080 square meters). Other green features include:

  • A flywheel UPS that needs no batteries, eliminating lead and chemical waste;
  • A chemical-free water treatment system;
  • Enhanced scalability that can boost capacity by up to 40 percent without the need for major construction; and
  • The “world’s first and largest installation” of a Liebert advanced XD cooling system with 24 percent more chilling capacity than standard systems.

Sun says the new facility is part of its eco-mission, “Greening Our World, One Datacenter at a Time.”

“With a billion people participating online today, the network consumes more than 100 billion kilowatts of electricity and costs businesses around $7.2 billion in utility bills annually … Some analysts say infrastructure power usage will soon cost more than the hardware itself,” states the company’s Eco Responsibility page. “So it’s clear: what’s good for the environment is imperative for business.”

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