It’s all in the (data center) location …

I was reading Site Selection for a Data Center and I thought I’d offer a list of my own tailored for green considerations. I’m going to assume that the site will be a renovated facility and not new construction (it’s a lot easier to apply green techniques when you can design them in from the ground up).

First, infrastructure. What type of power is available? Will the existing power supply the data center equipment without requiring power wasting transformers? Is there adequate power available or can it be expanded without heroic measures? Is there easy access to outside air for free air cooling? Is the building oriented to take advantage of prevailing winds to move air for free air cooling? Can power equipment be located close to the data center equipment (eliminate power wasting long runs of cable)?

Second, the building itself. How much outside window space is there? Are the windows low E type? Low E type windows will allow plenty of natural light while blocking heat that would need to be removed with the data center cooling system. If the windows aren’t low E type, less window space and high efficiency lighting are better than having to remove the heat.

What is the building roof material? What color is it? Black tar or rubber roofs will absorb large amounts of heat and transfer it inside where it has to be removed. Is the roof equipped with structures that enhance free air cooling, such as a clerestory monitor? Is the roof able to support green structures, such as a solar array (generate green power and shield your black roof from solar heating!)? Does the building layout lend itself to using data center waste heat to warm non-data center areas during cold weather?

Finally, there is the outside environment. Is the building surrounded by greenspace? Greenspace helps keep the outside air clean, reducing dust intrusion, as well as keeping the outside environment cooler, helping free air cooling to work as efficiently as possible. Is the building in an area where pollution from other sources may intrude? As an example, one of my former locations was 100 feet away from a busy stop light. Every year, large amounts of soot from idling diesel trucks would have to be washed off the building.

This isn’t an exhaustive list of site considerations of course, but I believe these things are all important to consider to pick the greenest data center site possible!

Vern, SwiftWater Telecom

data center, web hosting, Internet engineering


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