FedEx Reaches Company Milestone and Opens Energy Efficient Data Center

A few days ago FedEx Corp. unveiled its Enterprise Data Center-West (EDC-W), located in Colorado Springs, CO, making it the company’s first environmentally sustainable data center. With this grand opening, this now makes EDC-W among the most energy efficient data centers in the U.S. and FedEx hopes the center will become a model of sustainability and efficiency for all data centers in the future.

Typically when we think of buildings being built green, we think mostly of the materials used in addition to use of natural light, green roofs, construction waste, etc. However, when it comes to data centers, apparently a major challenge is to efficiently maintain the amount of energy used for a consistently cool temperature for the computing environment.

One method that is used to measure the energy efficiency of a data center is to by calculate the power usage effectiveness (PUE) ratio. The PUE was developed by the Green Grid, an organization which collaborated with the U.S. Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star Program and others to define a common set of metrics to measure data center efficiency.

In a press release, FedEx explained, “PUE measures the amount of electricity needed to power the cooling systems, lights, etc. versus the amount of electricity used to run the computing environment. According to the Uptime Institute, the typical data center has an average PUE of 2.5. The EDC-W PUE is 1.28, with a ratio of “1.0” indicating perfect efficiency.”

Additionally the EDC-W also has the Colorado Springs climate on their side. With low humidity and cool air, FedEx anticipates that the data center will benefit from more than 5,000 hours of “free cooling” during a normal year.

Kevin M. Humphries, senior vice president of Information Technology for FedEx Services, said that the EDC-W represents a major milestone in the company’s strategy and that this technology model will not only improve productivity, but reduce the impact on the environment as well.

Kara is 3p's writer from New England. In her Newport, RI community, Kara is the organizer of Green Drinks Newport, is a member of Newport's Energy & Environment Commission, is a volunteer for the Neighborhood Energy Challenge, Norman Bird Sanctuary, and has also volunteered as a panelist for Rhode Island Farmways, speaking to farmers from around the state about how they can better market and promote their businesses. Beyond the moat that surrounds her island home, Kara has backpacked Mt. Washington in New Hampshire too many times to count and she hopes her next adventure will be to ski the gnarly Tuckerman's Ravine. Kara is a member of the Appalachian Mountain Club, a graduate of the Colorado Outward Bound School and in real life, she is a public relations director who'd just plain like to see the world a greener place. Kara has been writing for since January 2005 and began writing for 3p in January 2010.

One response

  1. Good topic, Kara. I think many people underestimate the importance of data centers and how integral they are to our culture’s shift to a digitally-based society. In a way, these buildings represent the material side of digital existence. While it is easy for us to think of the internet as a black hole of free space, there are very real repercussions in space and energy that come with every bit of information that migrates to the net.

    As we increase the amount of information stored online and the speeds of its conveyance, we are going to see the population of these buildings multiply, making their efficiency paramount to goals of societal sustainability.

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