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Green data centers are all the rage now because of the benefits they bring, but, surprisingly, not everything “green” is good or even recommended. And, many companies tend to go overboard with green initiatives. Here is an overview of the top green data center mistakes to avoid.

Building Too Soon

An Overview of the Latest Green Data Center MistakesData centers are in the midst of exponential growth, thanks to big data and the preference among more and more companies to put their data in the cloud. Demand has grown by about 14% a year, whereas supply has grown by only 6%, increasing the business prospects of existing data centers. However, demand varies considerably among data centers, and data centers may need to plan ahead but also build for the present. Building for future needs, even fully optimized, "green" space, is actually a waste as technology changes by the day and what counts as most efficient and practical today may be irrelevant and obsolete by the time this capacity is actually needed. It is best to make provisions for expanding, but it is best to actually implement when it is truly required. When it comes to green architecture and deployment, the best “green” initiative is not to build until absolutely needed.

Miscalculation of Costs

Most green initiatives focus on improving Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE). This is understandable, as data centers are one of the biggest consumers of energy and energy accounts for up to 80% of all data center costs. However, many data centers miscalculate PUE. One big mistake is the failure to take total cost of ownership into account. Data centers may refrain from taking up an initiative considering the high upfront cost, or, conversely, they may make that investment in order to save in the future without considering the maintenance or operating cost of the investment. For instance, there is ongoing debate in the industry regarding the efficiencies of water-cooled chillers and air-cooled chillers. The lower PUE resultant from these initiatives may actually be offset by the cost of the makeup water and water treatment maintenance requirement for the water-cooled solution, and data centers may not be factoring in this cost.

Ineffective LEED Implementation

LEED certification is the latest “fad” in green data centers. While the benefits of LEED certified data centers are obvious, the fact remains that the process is often implemented ineffectively. Obtaining LEED certification ideally begins at the design concept and ends with a formal certification after project completion.Many data centers fail to develop a base understanding of the qualifying criteria and pursue LEED certification as an afterthought.

Bad Location

Finally, there is one thing that matters the most for optimizing green initiatives – location, location, location. Not all green initiatives work well everywhere, and the best implementations are the ones which work with the environment. A case in point is solar energy. While it makes sense to deploy solar panels in sun baked lands such as Arizona or Dubai, solar panels may not actually be a good idea in colder regions that receive lesser sunlight. Here, harnessing wind power may be a better option.

Going green is worth its while, but only when done right. If implemented incorrectly, it may actually do more harm than good.

If you're looking for a data center that places an importance on compliance and efficient use of energy, schedule a tour of Lifeline Data Centers today.

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Rich Banta

Rich Banta

Managing Member at Lifeline Data Centers
Rich is responsible for Compliance and Certifications, Data Center Operations, Information Technology, and Client Concierge Services. Rich has an extensive background in server and network management, large scale wide-area networks, storage, business continuity, and monitoring. Rich is a former CTO of a major health care system. Rich is hands-on every day in the data centers. He also holds many certifications, including: CISA – Certified Information Systems Auditor CRISC – Certified in Risk & Information Systems Management CDCE – Certified Data Center Expert CDCDP – Certified Data Center Design Professional
Rich Banta