Extreme Energy Efficiency Nets Fortune Data Centers $900K Rebate

Extreme Energy Efficiency Nets Fortune Data Centers $900K Rebate

Investing in energy efficiency pays off in more ways than one, as Fortune Data Centers found out this month. The company incorporated highly energy efficient technologies into its 78,000-square-foot facility when before it opened in May, enough to save an estimated $4 million per year in energy costs for the company and its corporate clients.

Now, the company will receive an additional $900,000 from its electric utility, Pacific Gas & Electric, as part of PG&E's High Tech Energy Efficiency program, which offers incentives for adopting a wide range of efficiency technologies specific to IT, including virtualization, PC power management, energy efficient data storage systems, highly efficient power supplies and more.

The facility, which holds 43,000 square feet of computing space, aims to earn LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. Fortune has achieved a power usage effectiveness (PUE) rating of 1.37 in the data center -- meaning for every watt of energy used to power computing in the facility, just over one-third of an additional watt is used to run non-computing processes like lighting and cooling. The PUE, developed by the Green Grid, has become a standard benchmark for measuring efficiency in data centers. An average PUE for a corporate data center is currently around 2.0, and the EPA has set a target PUE of 1.45 for enterprise data centers by 2011.

Fortune Data Centers incorporated a number of innovations into the facility to maximize efficiency. As we wrote in May about the opening of the facility:

Among the innovations Fortune has applied to the new facility is the use of simple concrete slab for the floor, rather than the traditional raised-floor space common to most data centers. Rather than pumping cold air up through server racks, this data center delivers cold air from the ceiling and using insulated ducts for removing hot air from the racks.

This new setup saves power by harnessing the heavier weight of cold air; rather than having to force cold air up, it allows it to drop from the ceiling, and also allows hot air to rise naturally up through the ducts. In addition to energy savings, the design allows data center designers to mount the server cabinets right on the floor, saving installation costs and eliminating the need for weight constraints in racks.

Other LEED-certified or highly energy efficient data centers in recent weeks include ACT's LEED-Platinum facility in Iowa, and L.L. Bean's LEED-Silver facility in Maine.