Citi's Frankfurt Data Center Earns First-Ever LEED Platinum Certification

Citi's Frankfurt Data Center Earns First-Ever LEED Platinum Certification

Financial services giant Citi announced today that it had acheived a milestone for green buildings and green IT: the company's new data center, located in Frankfurt, Germany, is the first facility of its kind to achieve the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED Platinum rating.

The 230,000-square-foot data center earned the rating through a combination of energy- and resource-efficient designs, both on the facility side and the IT side. Among the notable achievements: the data center uses just 30 percent of the power that a similarly sized data center would require; 72 percent of the roof is a vegetative "green" roof, which keeps the building cooler in summer and warmer in winter, as well as absorbing rainwater and reducing summer "heat island" effect; the building will use free outside-air cooling 63 percent of the time; 27 percent of the materials were recycled, while 40 percent were locally sourced; and by virtualizing a high number of the computers in the data center, the company needed to use 250 kilometers (155 miles) less cabling to wire the facility.

“Close cooperation between our Real Estate and Technology groups has been important to achieving major advances in the way in which we manage technology energy demand in Citi,” said Stephen Ellis, Citi's Head of Technology Infrastructure in Europe. “The energy efficient design of the data center, coupled with extensive use of new, energy efficient virtualized technology, housed in innovative modular cabinets has optimized energy use and reduced the data cabling needs.”

In addition, the data center is highly water efficient: it uses reverse osmosis water treatment for cooling, which saves 50 million liters (13 million gallons) of water use per year; the water-efficient fixtures installed reduce indoor water use by 41 percent; and irrigation on-site uses 100 percent harvested rainwater.

Overall, Citi expects the facility to save 11,750 tonnes of CO2 per year.

LEED-certified data centers have been springing up in increasing numbers of late: In August 2008, Advanced Data Centers achieved LEED Platinum pre-certification for their Sacramento facility, but Citi's data center was completed and thus certified first. In Septemer 2008, Emerson Network Power unveiled designs for a new data center that aimed at LEED Silver certification, and back in November 2007 Digital Realty Trust earned the first-ever LEED Gold certification for a data center.

As of now, data center facilities use the same LEED ratings as other commercial facilities, but in February of this year, a group of industry leaders submitted to the USGBC a draft LEED rating for data centers that aims to customize elements of the certification process for high-tech facilities.