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NetApp Scores First-Ever Energy Star Label for Data Centers

The new Energy Star for Data Centers certification has started off with a bang, with the first facility to earn the label earning 99 out of 100 possible points for its certification.

NetApp's RTP data center, which opened in 2009, far surpassed the needed score of 75 points to earn the EPA's Energy Star rating for data centers, which opened for business in early June.

The facility, which is used primarily for research into storage efficiency and cloud computing services, incorporates a number of green solutions to data center energy efficiency. The data center runs at an average temperature of 74 degrees Fahrenheit and it uses outside are cooling for two-thirds of the year, both of which allow the company to dramatically cut down on cooling costs.

NetApp also built the facility to use less energy in distributing cooling. Rather than using raised-floor systems to fan cool air up into servers, the data center uses overhead air distribution to let the cooling system drop cold air into racks.

All told, the green design of the data center has a significant impact on NetApp's carbon footprint, as well as its customers': The energy efficiency of the facility saves more than 95,000 tons of CO2 emissions every year.

The RTP data center has also been used as a showcase for other companies and organizations looking to incorporate green technologies inito their data centers. NetApp says that 500 groups have toured the facility since it opened.

Though the Energy Star for data centers certification is newly launched, two members of the Environmental Defense Fund's Climate Corps program last week laid out three ways to improve the rating, including a way to incorporate a data center's location into its overall Energy Star score and the need for the EPA to work with utilities around the country to encourage incentives for data center efficiency.

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