Citi reaps savings from world's first LEED Platinum datacenter

Virtualization, free cooling, modular design, and other techniques help company earn 70 percent savings on energy

Yet another corporation can attest to the benefits of embracing green-tech practices. At the world's first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum-certified datacenter, financial behemoth Citi is using 70 percent less energy than would a conventional datacenter of equal size. That adds up to significant cost savings, combined with significant environmental gains.

Based in Frankfurt, Germany, the newly completed datacenter, which measures 232,000 square feet, boasts a host of features aimed at sustainability and energy efficiency -- enough to earn the facility the highest level of LEED certification possible from the U.S. Green Building Council.

[ Learn more about the benefits of LEED certification for datacenters. | Read about the world's first BREEAM Excellent-rated datacenter. ]

By consuming just 30 percent of the energy that a traditional datacenter would use, Citi's facility emits 11,750 fewer tons of CO2 emissions per year. It also uses 13 million fewer gallons of water per year. Notably, Citi says that the facility's sustainable design was executed at no increased cost over that of more conventional datacenters.

The designers of the facility used an array of technologies and techniques to reap these savings. For starters, the datacenter employs modular cabinets, a technique that's becoming increasingly popular. The idea behind a modular datacenter design is, essentially, to add power, cooling, and hardware as your needs increase, thus reducing waste.

[ Learn more about the benefits employing modularity in building your next datacenter. ]

Moreover, Citi is leveraging virtualization to reduce server count while boosting utilization.

The datacenter also enjoys lower cooling bills thanks to a free-cooling rate of 63 percent. On top of that, the facility has green roofs, which further keeps the datacenter cooler during summer months. The facility's enhanced CRAC unit design reduces power consumption from 9.3 kW to 3.3 kW per unit, according to Citi. Moreover, the datacenter's advanced cooling tower design reducing power consumption from 74kW to 22 kW.

Other green traits of Citi's Frankfurt datacenter include:

  • Reverse-osmosis water treatment for cooling, saving 13,208,602 gallons of water per year;
  • Water-efficient fixtures, which reduce potable water use by 41 percent;
  • The use of harvested rainwater for 100 percent of the irrigation needs;
  • And recycled content of the materials specified on the project reached 27 percent.