One of the 30 most energy-renewable data centers in the world

Green house data

It will be about one of the 30 most energy-renewable data centers in the world. Last year, the US Environmental Protection Agency published a selection of 30 data centers that use the most "green" advanced technology. Green House Data is one of them.

How to benefit from the powerful winds blowing from the Rockies? Green House Data knows from experience how it is advisable to turn this natural phenomenon into a useful resource for powering 850 kW of its offspring, one of the “green” data centers. The data center is located in the capital of Wyoming. The state is located in the western United States and is included in the group of so-called Mountain States. It is considered to be a windy state, in the literal sense of the word.

According to the American Wind Energy Association, American wind power reached 60 GW in 2012, of which about 1,400 MW is due to wind turbines installed in Wyoming. Despite such high levels of state, Green House Data does not purchase wind energy from nearby wind farms for its needs; the energy supplier is a company located in Boulder, Colorado.

The use of various energy-efficient elements, such as virtualization, the use of high-performance air conditioning systems, all this reduces the energy consumption of the server farm at times. Sean Mills, founder and president of Green House Data, explained the reason for using “devious” ways of supplying renewable energy and spoke about the company's developments that allow their data center to occupy its niche among green server storages.

History of the project. What prompted a data center in Wyoming?

In 2007, Sean Mills and his good friend were chatting over a cup of coffee in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The question was raised that there was not a single data center in such a potentially profitable state as Wyoming. They were interested in this question, and after much research, they agreed that in Wyoming it would be really possible to build and place impressive sizes of a multi-user server farm, but with one reservation - such a product should have a national character and become a unique business model. That is why the idea came to use the energy of the Wyoming winds as a data center power source. Reflecting in this direction, the search began for ways to create a reliable environmentally-friendly data center, while also being economically viable. The choice fell on Cheyenne, which was already the home of two relatively large wind farms. It also took into account the fact that this city is located next to Denver, Colorado.

When building a data center, a modular approach was applied. Initially, it was not clear what the demand would be, then it was necessary to approach the issue in an entrepreneurial way, as an option - to build a structure using a modular principle. At the disposal was an area of ​​882.6 square meters, for the beginning was built the first modular design with an area of ​​92.9 square meters.

No raised floor

Alas, initially the height of the existing building did not allow to install and use the raised floor. But now Green House Data has its own unique solution to this, so to speak “problems” - the layout and placement of equipment allows supplying air to the upper zone of the room and creating hot corridors there.

Green House Data Company has positioned itself as a company that uses clean renewable energy, even the name contains the word green. To the question: what do you mean by “green”, by what criteria can you judge whether the data center is green? Sean replied: “As we say to our customers - the greenest electron is the one that is untouched) It's funny, many people ask us a similar question:“ how green are you? ”. From our point of view, and indeed by and large, we are a Green Data Center, since all our energy comes from either local wind farms or from neighboring regions. Alas, with regard to the issue of renewable energy, the reality is that in most cases you do not have direct access to wind farms and the generated wind energy, so to speak at first hand, because of its high prices. We cannot afford to pay at exorbitant prices for electricity generated by local winds. In order to keep our pricing policy at the proper level, not to overestimate the prices offered on average by competitors in the data center market, we partially purchase wind power from local energy companies. ”

The company intends to continue to receive energy from local energy companies that offer electricity from 100% renewable sources, which is in line with the green concept. Before choosing the wind power source, a lot of research was carried out: solar, geothermal and wind energy were used, as a result, the cost per kilowatt / hour was minimal when using wind as a source of renewable energy, so the choice became obvious.

Green House Data does not use borrowed capital. Such a financial model was chosen that saves customers most money and provides an opportunity to make the services provided cheaper and more affordable. Net savings on electricity is 30%, making offers from Green House Data cheaper and more affordable for users, it’s no secret that the cost of electricity consumption is the highest expenditure in the operation of the server farm.

Cooling system

The cooling system is 90% more energy efficient than other data centers. Wyoming state air from outside for nearly 365 days a year is used to cool the infrastructure.

The data center uses Coolerado air conditioners, which are known to run on water and use the new patented technology of indirect evaporative cooling. Coolerados air conditioners are the most important component of a server farm energy saving system. Electricity consumption is 90% less, which in turn reduces by 90% the hydrocarbon emissions into the environment during energy production. The system can rightly be called green. Compared to traditional air conditioning systems, the energy efficiency of the Coolerado increases with increasing ambient temperature, rather than falling. There are no compressors and refrigerants in Coolerados, which requires lower capital costs, operating costs and floor space. According to the factory specifications, Coolerados consumes from 5 to 10 kV, and the PUE index is remarkably low.

The upper part of the cabinet enclosure in the data center is made of transparent plastic, which serves as an outlet duct. Plastic retains all the hot air on the hot side of the cabinet, which prevents cold air from mixing with hot air. Hot air is vented through the air vent. This is part of the 2N air conditioning system. Initially, 100% of IT loads are covered by the Coolerado system, but in which case, if for any reason you cannot use the Coolerado system, the air is drawn off by the Coolerado system, the system turns off and then everything works, 100% using traditional air conditioning systems in the server rooms.

Our goal is to maintain the temperature in the range of 10-25 degrees Celsius. The average value is 20 degrees Celsius. As a rule, in the data center it is possible to maintain such an average temperature, but sometimes it can fluctuate within the permissible range due to changing humidity. Depending on whether the humidity is from 30 to 80%, or zero humidity.

The model of the cooling system cannot be implemented anywhere, as it directly depends on the climatic conditions of the environment. But some fundamental technologies applied during the construction - hot isolated corridors, virtualization, fire extinguishing systems, noise isolation - all this can be applied to other server farms.

Fire protection system

In the presence of an early warning system that works on the principle of sampling and analyzing air samples, gas fire extinguishing installations with the extinguishing agent FK-5-1-12 (Novec 1230) are used. Researches of the company have shown that these methods are the safest both for people and for the external environment (the ozone layer).

The process of establishing a standard energy supply from the place of its generation to the server farm

Everything starts with the local energy company, starting to work with them, it is necessary to find out all the exciting conditions of cooperation, their pricing and accounting. Green House Data chose Renewable Choice in Boulder (Colorado), which actually buys wind energy from wind farms in Wyoming, and, funny thing, these wind farms are located next to the data center, but from which the company is not able to feed. directly. The high cost is the main reason that prevents you from connecting to a wind farm located nearby. It is unprofitable from an economic point of view. If you directly use electricity here in place, it will cost about 40 cents per kilowatt / hour, and that’s too expensive. While at the other end of the city on an industrial scale production costs 4 cents per kilowatt / hour.

According to Sean, few people who work on the principle of colocation will be ready to pay such amounts for electricity generated directly in the data center. It is economically unprofitable. In the colocation market, the additional costs are unacceptable, even such energy efficiency, as a company, does not justify itself financially.

Going beyond

When designing and building a sulfur storage, from Sean's words, the biggest surprise was the unpreparedness of engineers to apply a non-traditional approach when building a data center. “They expected a little more from them than just thinking about it. Engineers have always adhered to the old ASHRAE standards, and the existence of more progressive ASHRAE standards was not up to date. There were a lot of complaints and indecision on their part, a phrase that sounded most often: we did this work for 20 years, why change something? I explained to them that in the end we wanted to get from the work done, their own task was to bring it to life by considering and applying such approaches that would revive the desired project, make it work and be energy efficient at the same time. As a result, we were very pleased with the work of engineers who were able to go beyond their traditional thinking, creating what we operate with today. ”

The main task of corporate data centers is to provide ease and comfort. Do everything quickly, while energy efficient, provide the appropriate level of support. Can this all be done in the shortest possible time? As shown in practice, the company Green House Data - is possible. Absolutely possible if you make an effort.

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