In a milestone for green computing, Citi‘s newly completed 230,000 sq ft data center in Frankfurt am Mein, Germany became the world’s first such facility to earn the prestigious Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum rating. The environmentally-conscious building, designed by British architectural practice Arup Associates for Citi, has already been honored for its ground breaking eco-friendly design and now it has been awarded the most prestigious rating, the LEED Platinum rating.

Some Green Facts that Make this Data Center a Landmark

The facility incorporates a series of green measures that achieve significant improvements in sustainability with no compromise to operation or reliability. This landmark building will use only 30% of the power required for a similar sized conventional datacenter and only 40% of the heating energy. This energy savings results in an overall annual CO2 emission reduction of 11,750 t/a. Cooling water consumption, also a major factor in this type of facility is reduced through the use of innovative reverse osmosis water treatment in the cooling plant, saving around 40 million liters of water per year.

This data center is an example of what a green cloud computing facility can be. It stands out for its energy efficiency and recycling of materials. The new facility boasts a host of features aimed at sustainability and energy efficiency and uses just 30 percent of the power of a traditional data center of comparable size, the banking group said.

Technologies Employed to Achieve Energy Efficiency Goals

In order to achieve this level of energy savings the designers of the new facility used a combination of various technologies. The data center employs a modular design that both optimizes energy use and reduces the total amount of cabling. The use of modular cabinets is becoming increasingly popular and the idea behind it is to add power, cooling and hardware units bundled together as modules as your needs increase. The center also uses energy efficient hardware virtualization technology to make efficient use of its hardware resources by abstracting them. Hardware virtualization is a hallmark of cloud computing.

The data center also employs new energy efficient Computer Room Air Conditioning (CRAC) units that reduce power per unit to 3.3 kw down from 9.3 kw. In addition to employing efficient CRAC units energy use is also reduced by using “free cooling” when possible. In fact the facility enjoys a 63% free cooling rate. Free cooling, as the term is used for data centers is a technique that uses outside ambient air to cool a facility when temperature and humidity conditions make this possible in this manner saving energy that would have otherwise been consumed to run air conditioners.

This Data Center is a Landmark Green Building as Well

In addition to these various techniques the Frankfurt data center building is itself covered by a green roof and a green wall, which further helps keep the data center cooler during summer months. The building also uses water efficient fixtures reducing potable water use by 41 percent and harvests rainwater that it uses for irrigation of its landscape. During the construction phase of the project 100 percent of the waste was diverted from landfill, and the recycled content of materials used reached 27 percent. Local sourcing of materials, which saves energy that would otherwise be spent on transportation, exceeded 40%.

Citi says the sustainable design was achieved with no increased cost over conventional data centers and without sacrificing reliability and resilience of the systems. This fact alone should spur other data center designers to try to aspire to this level of green cloud quality set by Citi in their new data center.

© 2009, Chris de Morsella. All rights reserved. Do not republish.

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Author: Chris de Morsella (146 Articles)

After a decade performing as a lead guitarist for rock bands, Chris de Morsella decided to return to the career his uncle mentored him in as a youth....Software Engineering. Since that time he has thrown himself into his work. He has designed a compound document publishing architecture for regulatory submissions capable of handling very large multi-document FDA regulatory drug approval submissions, for Liquent, a division of Thompson Publishing. At the Associated Press, Chris worked with senior editors at facilities around the world, to develop a solution for replacing existing editorial systems with an integrated international content management solution. He lead the design effort at Microsoft for a help system for mobile devices designed to provide contextual help for users. Chris also helped to develop the web assisted installer for LifeCam2.0, the software for Microsoft’s web cam and developed late breaking features for the product He also served with the Rhapsody client team to redesign and build a major new release of Real Networks Rhapsody client product. His most recent assignment has been Working with the Outlook Mobile Time Management team for the next release of Outlook Mobile for the SmartPhone. Chris' interests are in green building and architecture, smart grid, the cloud, geo-thermal energy, solar energy, smart growth, organic farming and permaculture. Follow Chris on Twitter.