GE Appliances & Lighting recently brought a new data center online at its Louisville, Ky., headquarters with a high-profile green pedigree: LEED Platinum certification. Only six percent of all buildings certified by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design worldwide achieve the highest, platinum level.
Data centers tend to be voracious consumers of energy, so the certification of this data center has important consequences for GE. The $48 million project was designed and built to reduce energy consumption and lower overall environmental impact, “while providing tremendous computing power to support major product and infrastructure investments now and well into the future,” the company said in a release.
The facility features high-efficiency cooling systems and high-density servers to reduce the footprint by half compared to the data center it replaces, GE said. It’s 34 percent better in terms of energy savings than a typical code-compliant facility, cuts water use by 42 percent from the industry baseline and draws 35 percent of its power from off-site renewable energy sources. Instead of building from the ground up, the new data center was built in an existing building and preserved over 98 percent of the existing walls, floors and roof of an unutilized factory space.
GE also received LEED credit for sourcing more than half of the construction materials regionally, building with over 30 percent recycled materials and diverting over 85 percent of on-site generated construction waste from the landfill by recycling.
“It’s hard for data centers to achieve LEED certification,” said Anita Baldock, GE’s data center project lead, in a video about the facility. “If you’re making a facility to house thousands of computers, obviously you’re going to have a huge power draw.”