Yahoo! Unveils its World-Class Green Data Center

Today marks a significant milestone: Yahoo! officially begins operating its state-of-the-art data center in western New York, just 15 months after announcing its creation. The Lockport, N.Y. facility is one of the world’s most energy-efficient, environmentally friendly, and cost effective data centers. How? Through its combination of innovative design and Lockport’s naturally cool climate, which dramatically decreases electricity usage throughout the year.

Data centers are the backbone powering our network of services and advertisements to 600 million users around the world, and as you can imagine, they consume a lot of energy. According to the EPA, data centers across the U.S. account for about 1.5% of U.S. electricity usage. This is why we have made it a priority to become a leader in designing and building data centers that are environmentally sustainable. Minimizing our electricity usage is not only good for the environment, but it’s good for our bottom line, giving Yahoo! a competitive advantage.

The Lockport facility will have the first implementation of Yahoo!’s green data center design called Yahoo! Computing Coop (YCC). The best-in-class, energy-efficient design was recognized by the Department of Energy (DOE) in 2010 with a sustainability grant of $9.9 million, the largest award received from the DOE’s recent Green IT grant program.  The facility uses a combination of Lockport’s climate, prevailing winds, and hydropower to keep the 120 foot by 60 foot server buildings cool. The design, dubbed the “Yahoo! Chicken Coop,” emulates the long narrow structure of a chicken coop to re-circulate cool outside air, 100% of the time, resulting in an annualized average of less than 1% of energy required to cool the facility. In other words, we are spending less than one cent for cooling for every dollar spent on electricity. Yahoo!’s Lockport data center is among the most efficient data centers in the world, with a low Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) of 1.08 compared to the industry average of 1.92. This means that at this site we are consuming at least 40% less energy and using at least 95% less water than conventional data centers.

The Lockport data center will:

  • Save enough energy to power more than 9,000 New York state households’ energy annually.
  • Save more water per year than what flows over the Niagara Falls for one minute straight (4 million cubic feet per minute is the Falls’ average flow).

In addition to the Lockport data center, we have opened a Yahoo! Operations Center, which monitors the Yahoo! infrastructure to ensure consistent uptime, and a Global Service Desk, a 24-7 IT support center for Yahoo! employees.

We are grateful for the incredible support we have received from local and state government, the New York Power Authority, Lockport residents, and local businesses, all of which helped make this project a success. Today we are hosting a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the facility, with approximately 200 local community members and electives including David Paterson, governor of New York; and Chuck E. Schumer, U.S. senator for New York.

Yahoo! is one of the first companies to establish a world-class data center in western New York and to take advantage of the area’s climate, clean hydropower, and qualified workforce. We are helping to establish the region as a technology center of excellence, and we expect that others will follow suit.

Now, while you are using Yahoo! Mail, Messenger, Flickr, News, Sports, Finance, or viewing advertisements across our network, know that the engine behind all that great content is among the most efficient in the industry, and is designed to minimize impact to the environment.

-David Dibble – EVP Service Engineering & Operations

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