Five Years Later, the First LEED Data Center has Saved Millions

Five Years Later, the First LEED Data Center has Saved Millions

With Earth Day around the corner, companies and organizations of all kinds are highlighting green achievements large and small. And mortgage company Fannie Mae is taking the opportunity to provide a look at the impacts of its green data center.

Fannie Mae's 247,000 square foot data center (pictured at left) was the first such facility certified by the U.S. Green Building Council to earn the LEED rating, back in 2005. In the ensuing years, the data center has saved the agency $1.7 million in energy use.

According to an article in TechTarget published at the time of the data center's launch:

All of the mechanical, electrical and computer systems were selected for maximum energy efficiency, as well as lighting systems. The data center is expected to operate at a maximum of 125 watts per square foot.

Other green strategies included putting catalytic converters on the backup power diesel generators, as well as minimizing the footprint of the data center.

And while certifying a green facility can be an expensive process, Fannie Mae expects to save on operations and maintenance costs.

"The Urbana Technology Center's LEED certification will translate into significant lifecycle savings, while providing our employees with a healthier, more comfortable work environment. It also allows us to be a good neighbor within the local community," Brian Cobb, Fannie Mae's senior vice president for enterprise systems management, said in a statement.

The LEED standards cover more than just electrical efficiency, though. The UTC features recycled materials, low emission paints and carpeting, as well as sustainable landscaping features.

{related_content}In addition to energy savings, the facility is also highly water-conservative: In the last five years, the data center has saved more than 23 million gallons of water, or nearly 13,000 gallons per day.

"Fannie Mae's technology center is an excellent case study of how building projects of varying scopes and scales can achieve energy efficiency," Rick Fedrizzi, the president, CEO and Founding Chair of the USGBC, said in a statement. "Fannie Mae's early adoption of LEED not only demonstrates their environmental stewardship, but can attest to the simple premise that by consuming less, companies inherently save more and will do so throughout the lifecycle of the building."

Since 2005, a number of data centers have earned LEED certification, including several to achieve the top-level Platinum certification. In April 2009, Citi's facility in Frankfurt, Germany, was the first to do so, while ACT earned the first Platinum rating for a U.S. data center later that year.