Facebook, Yahoo Gain LEED Certifications

The interior of new Facebook data center in Prineville, Oregon.

Leading data center operators continue to report gaining certifications under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system for green buildings. On Thursday Facebook reported that it had gained LEED Gold status for its new data center in Prineville, Oregon and Yahoo said it had earned Silver LEED status for its facility in La Vista, Nebraska.

Facebook said it was “proud to have pioneered several new technologies in the design and operation here, including new energy-efficient server designs and a low-energy evaporative cooling system that makes use of the low-humidity climate of Central Oregon’s high-desert setting to eliminate traditional air conditioners.

The Prineville data center uses 38 percent less energy to do the same work as Facebook’s existing leased facilities. In addition to its energy efficiencies, 27 percent of building materials used came from recycled products, and 30 percent of materials used were locally sourced and manufactured. Ninety-one percent of the wood used was FSC-certified from sustainability-managed forests, and 83 percent of construction waste was recycled or reused, preventing 530 tons of waste from ending up in a landfill.

At the completed facility, 100 percent of rainwater is captured and reused for all irrigation and toilet-flushing needs, a savings of 272,000 gallons of municipally treated water per year. A solar energy installation generates an estimated 204,000 kilowatt hours per year, providing electricity to the office areas. The offices are even heated through reuse of heat created by the servers.

Yahoo said the certification for its La Vista Data Center, located near Omaha, Nebraska was “a testament to the company’s history of innovation around energy-efficiency, and commitment to using less of the planet’s natural resources.”

Yahoo used an existing building to construct the data center, reusing over 75 percent of the original structure to reduce the environmental impacts associated with erecting a new structure. The company preserved over 50 percent of the site as an open space habitat to grow drought-tolerant native grasses to cut back on irrigation.

The company slashed reduced energy consumption at the data center by 20 percent with a patented cooling design. Recycled content comprised 41 percent of all materials on the project, which also recycled 95 percent of all waste from the construction process.


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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.

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