Greener datacenters in historic buildings

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So there aren’t a lot of HPC datacenters that are in designated historic landmarks (with one very notable exception), but there are lots of them in datacenters that have similar constraints due to budget or organizational concerns. I was interested in this story about how 1102 GRAND is dealing with these issues

Bonawitz adds that their biggest challenge at 1102 GRAND is owning a building on the historic registry which is unusual for data centers, “We are working to lower energy usage knowing that this building will never be LEED certified and there are not a lot of case studies of companies that have done this before; we are entering uncharted or undocumented territories for a building of our age with the needs and power usage of our tenants,” said Bonawitz. “Even with the unusual challenges, the key is that we are making calculated strides when and where we can.”

Some of 1102 GRAND’s recent solutions to overcome this hurdle have included shifting to newer model computer room air conditioners that are more energy efficient, verifying that areas under raised floors are as free from congestion as possible, monitoring air flow throughout collocation rooms, watching for hot zones and raising the temperature in the data centers the company operates by three degrees as outlined in a recent ASHRAE publication. “Unlike a private data center, we do not have a lot of input into the networking equipment in our facility,” Bonawitz said. “So, in order to be more energy efficient, we have to focus carefully on the infrastructure pieces and work to educate our customers about the steps available for their part of the energy efficiency equation.”

They are publishing a series of white papers on their experiences here.