IBM (NYSE: IBM) announced today it has achieved Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification for its new data center located at the company's Research Triangle Park (RTP) campus.
The new facility, which is the company's most technologically advanced green data center, officially opened in February 2010 and is IBM's first LEED Gold certified data center.
IBM was awarded the LEED Gold certification by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) which certifies which facilities meet the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings. A key factor in IBM's LEED recognition was the company's re-use of an existing building on its RTP campus. The construction reused 95 percent of the original building's shell and in the process IBM recycled 90 percent of the materials from the original building and ensured 25 percent of newly purchased material came from recycled products. These factors helped reduce the carbon footprint associated with 100,000 square feet building by nearly 50 percent.
One of the unique features of the IBM facility is a rainwater collection system which generates non-potable water to be used in the facility. With the annual rainfall in Raleigh averaging around 41 inches, IBM estimates that the 160,000 square foot roof area can collect approximately 3.5 million gallons per year. IBM also designed the center with a reflective roof to reduce the indoor temperature and cooling technology which utilizes outside air to free-cool the data center for nearly half the year. This system is complemented by the use of an intelligent sensor network which continuously reads temperature and relative humidity throughout the data center. The smart system then can dynamically adjust cooling in response to changes in demand and is estimated to help reduce annual energy cost by 15 percent.
"We are very proud to have IBM's first LEED Gold certified data center located right here in North Carolina," said Bob Greenberg, IBM Senior State Executive for North Carolina. "Through local sourcing, recycling and tremendous innovation we've been able to achieve a significant milestone for the company and further solidify IBM's commitment to Research Triangle Park. Data centers have always been a critical part of IBM 's global delivery network and this facility, our cloud computing data center, has furthered IBM's ability to deliver innovation and value to customers around the world."
IBM used an innovative modular design method – called IBM Enterprise Modular Data Center (IBM EMDC) – which provides the ability to add significant future capacity in nearly half the time it would take traditional data centers to expand. This method can rapidly scale capacity to meet demand by adding future space, power, and cooling to the data center with no disruption to existing operations. This means up to 40 percent of capital costs and up to 50 percent of operational costs may be deferred until client demand necessitates expansion.
Data centers are the backbone of information technology (IT) infrastructure delivery for businesses and other organizations, with powerful servers and storage systems running business-critical technology including software applications, email and web sites. IBM has engineered the data center to help its clients use new Internet technologies and services to meet the business challenges of an environment marked by an exponential rise in computational power, a proliferation of connected devices and an imperative to manage energy costs.
The data center uses advanced software virtualization technologies and cloud computing that enable access to information and services from any device with extremely high levels of availability and quality of experience. The facility aggressively conserves energy resources; saving cost and speeding services deployment through a smart management approach that links equipment, building systems and data center operations. These factors, coupled with the LEED Gold design standards, makes the IBM RTP facility the most efficient of more than 400 data centers worldwide.
Factors key to IBM's selection of RTP as the site for the new facility include North Carolina's robust network infrastructure, its leadership approach to energy efficiency, information technology workforce, favorable utility rates, supportive state and local government and favorable geographic location with low risk for natural disasters.