Data Center Go Green

Data centers came about from the need of Internet companies to gain fast Internet connectivity and nonstop operation. It is a facility which includes telecommunications and storage systems. Nowadays, large data centers are big electricity consumers that can use as much electricity as a small town. Not only do they need massive electricity power, they have also become a significant air pollution source as they emit diesel exhaust. 

Internet companies like Google or Facebook have taken the first step recently. Facebook is building a new Green data center in Altoona, Iowa. The power source of this mass data center is coming from a nearby wind farm in Wellsburg, Iowa. It is going to be Facebook’s second green data center after its Lulea, Sweden data center. As of now, both the wind farm and the data center are currently under construction. 

In 2010, Greenpeace began to promote renewable energy for data center use. Since then, Apple has been implementing alternative energy sources for its data center and claims that it is currently powered by 100 percent renewable sources. Facebook has set a goal of powering its data center by 25 percent renewable energy by 2015. “Utilities are now much more interested in collaborating with us, and I think we are at the beginning of a period in which we could see a very rapid change in the energy mix utilities are providing in just a few short years.” Notes Bill Weihl, Manager of Energy Efficiency and Sustainability for Facebook.


-Renjie Shen, Sustainability