LEED Platinum Rating for Advanced Data Centers

A new facility under construction in Sacramento, California will become the first data center to gain Platinum certification under the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standard from the U.S. Green Buildings Council, the national benchmark for the design and construction of high performance green buildings.

Advanced Data Centers (ADC) is building a 237,000 square foot data center at McClellan Park on McClellan Air Force Base in Sacramento, California. The USGBC has pre-certified the ADC facility for a LEED score of 50 points, above the 45 points required for LEED Platinum, the highest certification tier.

“To our knowledge, this is the first purpose-built data center to achieve LEED Platinum,” said Michael Cohen, the President of Advanced Data Centers, which is redeveloping a building once used by the U.S. Air Force for IT operations.

Last year Digital Realty Trust (DLR) became the first provider to have a data center qualify for Gold LEED status for a build-to-suit facility within Digital Realty’s 350 East Cermak Road carrier hotel in Chicago. There are only a handful of LEED certified data centers, but many developers are planning to seek certification for facilities.

The LEED standard is designed to evaluate office space rather than data centers, so a number of the data centers that have attained LEED certification have included an office component. Advanced Data Centers new facility does not. The LEED program awards points for environmental design in five areas: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection, and indoor environmental quality.

The Advanced Data Centers Sacramento site has 50 megawatts of power capacity, and will be able to support customer power loads of up to 200 watts per square foot.
The building will use air-side economizers and also make use of grey water from the Air Force base as a redundant water supply for its chiller infrastructure. Cohen said ADC was “very meticulous about documenting the reuse of materials,” which is an important factor in the LEED process.

The building’s utility is the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD), which acquires energy through hydro generation, cogeneration plants and renewable technologies in addition to purchasing power on the wholesale market. ADC will pay a rate of 7.7 cents per kilowatt hour.

“We think Sacramento is the best place to have a data center in California,” said Cohen. “We’re outside the earthquake zone and flood plain.”

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About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor at large of Data Center Knowledge, and has been reporting on the data center sector since 2000. He has tracked the growing impact of high-density computing on the power and cooling of data centers, and the resulting push for improved energy efficiency in these facilities.