for Going Greener with Green Walls
Yahoo! is committed to being an environmentally responsible company, and the addition of a G-O2® Living Wall is just one leafy example. With the Internet accessible by over 40% of the world's population, such a demand for Internet services requires expanded infrastructure and installation of more computing and data storage capability with low power consumption.
Y!CC servers sit in pre-constructed steel buildings, designed to keep servers cool rather than maximize the number of servers in the space
Yahoo!'s newest data center, a 155,000 square foot facility in Lockport, NY, uses 40% less energy and 95% less water than conventional facilities. The air-cooled data center, which can accommodate 50,000 servers, is based on an unlikely design: the chicken coop.
Known as the Yahoo! Commuting Coop (Y!CC), the building is long and narrow to provide good air circulation and is shaped similar to a chicken coop. The 120’ x 60’ building design maximizes the flow of outside air for cooling versus conventional power-guzzling mechanical chillers. When the weather gets too hot, the data center uses an evaporative cooling system.
Y!CC Facility Diagram
Air enters the building through massive side-wall louvers and gets pulled through the servers. Warm exhaust air rises into the narrow cupola at the top and exits through the louvers located there. The site was chosen with sustainability in mind, from the cool climate that allows outside-air cooling almost year-round from the nearby Niagara Falls.
Yahoo! incorporated a G-O2® Living Wall into their utility space because they were interested in increasing their “green” presence. They felt the gorgeous new building for their call center in upstate New York would be a perfect spot. Not only would the living wall provide them the “green” exposure they desired, they also felt it would greatly contribute to the aesthetic beauty of their new Y!CC Facility.
Spanning 62 feet, the living wall is segmented into 7 sections. Plant Connection provided Yahoo! with multiple design options to choose from for greening their acoustic wall. Yahoo! selected a curvilinear design that flows through the panel groupings to help create one continuous living wall, while providing contrast to the existing façade.
Nine varieties of sedum were planted to create the organic, free flowing design, supplying four seasons of interest, color, and texture.
Some key facts to note about the Y!CC Design:
- Y!CC Facility gets access to renewable hydroelectric power.
- Inspiration for facility came from architecture in Buffalo, where industrial facilities were designed to make most of region's cool air.
- Y!CC design yielded 2% annualized cost to cool with evaporative cooling.
- 36 million gallons of water were saved per year with Y!CC compared to conventional water-cooled chiller plant designs.
- Y!CC design created 40% cut in amount of electricity used compared to industry-typical data centers.
- Department of Energy in 2010 recognized Y!CC as being best-in-class, energy-efficient design by awarding Yahoo! 9.9 million dollar sustainability grant.
- In 2011, US Patent Office awarded Yahoo! patent for "Integrated Building Based Air Handler Server Farm Cooling System."
Similarly, companies like Google, Apple, and other cloud computing providers are all trying to use renewable energy to power their data centers, helping to contribute to reductions in global warming, cut energy costs and comply with regulations. But nothing more boldly says you are being environmentally conscious than a green wall greeting visitors and employees!
For additional photos, see our Project Gallery