Data centers that make the best of their surrounding environments for power, security, and defense against natural disasters are usually the most sustainable.

Phoenix, Arizona, doesn’t have the wind power of Google data centers in Finland, and Phoenix data centers aren’t water-fueled like the AISO data center in California.

However, in Phoenix, solar power is abundantly available.

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Here we’ll look at some perfect examples of how Phoenix data centers are being eco-friendly and minimizing their impact on global warming.

Renewable Energy Resources

Apple recently announced a $2 billion data center project in Mesa, Arizona – just twenty miles outside of Phoenix - to overhaul a 1.3 million square foot factory into a command center for their global network of data center facilities.

The entire facility is being equipped to run on solar energy. Apple was in the crosshairs of many critics when the former tenant of the facility, GT Advanced Technology, was driven into bankruptcy trying to supply sapphire glass for iPhones to the computing and mobile giant.

This move by Apple will raise the bar quite high for data center operators around the world to embrace renewable energy resources. Apple is no stranger to innovation. However, it has never built a solar energy farm to create 70 megawatts (MW) of power before.

Solar Power

The i/o Data Center in Phoenix was thought to have made great advances in solar energy about five years ago when it installed enough solar panels to create about 4.5 MW of power. The Phoenix One Googleplex has about eleven acres of roof real estate, and it is covered in solar panels.

Despite the abundance of sunny days in the Arizona desert region, solar power is more than twice as costly to source as grid power. Data centers that commit to running on solar don’t do so to save money, it is a commitment to reducing a company’s carbon footprint and to reducing the impact data centers have on climate change.

Greenpeace has criticized Amazon and Twitter for their data centers. On the other hand, they have applauded Apple’s commitment to solar power with the data center in Mesa. Greenpeace says only fifteen percent of the Internet is powered by green energy. Moves by data centers like i/o and Apple are steps in the direction.

Green Energy in Phoenix

Other Phoenix data centers which have been equipped with green energy for power or cooling include:

  • GreenGeeks (Wind power)
  • eBay (Cooling)
  • Engineering (Virtualization for power use optimization)
  • Phoenix NAP (Solar power, water cooling, zero ozone depletion)

Companies that adopt sustainable data center strategies can often access tax breaks on equipment from the Arizona state government. The Apple data center construction is still about a year and a half away. However, the area is predicted to employ about 150 full-time employees.

Phoenix data centers which are built for minimal climate change are entering a new era of opportunity. Whether other industries will follow suit to increase dependence on solar power remains to be seen.

Would your Phoenix data center be willing to invest in equipment to have less of an impact on climate change? Tell us about it in the Comments section below.

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