JERSEY CITY, NJ — When you're running a data center, especially one that specializes in cloud computing applications, there are some green practices that are just inevitable. Buying energy-efficient servers, for example, or virtualizing those servers as much as possible.
Running that data center on renewable energy, however, is not one an example of low-hanging fruit. But cloud service provider Datapipe yesterday announced that it had completed a year-long project to get all three of its U.S. data centers powered entirely by renewables.
The project has landed Datapipe on the EPA's Green Power Partnership Leadership Club, and Rich Dolan, the company's Director of Marketing, said that the initiative was driven from the top down.
"We're power hogs -- we own and operate data centers -- it's unkind to the environment," Dolan explained. "We use a lot of power, and from the top down we feel like it's very important to start looking at this with an eye toward renewable energy."
The company started their green power purchasing initiative last year when they were about to open their second New Jersey-based data center. (The company has two facilities in New Jersey, and one in San Jose, Calif.) Dolan said the opportunity presented itself when their power supplier made an offhand comment at the end of a meeting. He added that Robb Allen, the CEO and founder, jumped at the chance to purchase enough renewable energy credits (RECs) and the project was born.
Datapipe has purchased nearly 56 million kilowatt-hours' worth of renewably generated energy in order to neutralize the more than 36,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide generated by its power use.
But the company's green initiatives go beyond green power. In the data center, Datapipe has installed a 99 percent energy-efficient UPS from Eaton, hot aisle containment to maximize the performance of the HVAC system, and ultrasonic humidifiers to replace traditional humidifiers -- using 90 percent less energy in the process.
In addition to driving a culture of sustainability at the company, becoming a green power leader in the IT sector in New Jersey gives Datapipe a chance to become thought leaders on sustainability in the area.
And the only downside? That it costs more.
But Dolan said that the additional cost is justified by the Allen's commitment to sustainability.
"It's something that we believe firmly is a benefit and it shows responsibility on behalf of Datapipe," Dolan said. "It's justified because the CEO is passionate about it. It just does not matter that it costs more -- it's just true passion that we should do the right thing."
Of course, having green cred pays off in other areas as well; Dolan said that the company has gained the upper hand in landing contracts when their green power purchases tipped the scale in their favor, and that customer interest in green data centers is sending more interest their way. And as more companies send more of their computing power out to cloud providers like Datapipe, that interest is sure to grow.