Yahoo Green Data Center Opens in New York

The facility, dubbed the Chicken Coop, is designed to enhance airflow to meet data center cooling needs.

Search giant Yahoo announced the opening of its high-tech, energy-conscious data center in Lockport, N.Y., which will have the first implementation of the company's green data center design, called the Yahoo Computing Coop (YCC). The U.S. Department of Energy recognized the energy-efficient design in 2010 with a sustainability grant of $9.9 million, according to a company release; the facility uses a combination of Lockport's cool climate, prevailing winds and hydropower to keep the 120-by-60-foot server buildings cool.

The YCC design, dubbed the Yahoo Chicken Coop, mimics the long, narrow design of a chicken coop to encourage natural air flow 100 percent of the time, resulting in an annualized average of less than 1 percent of the buildings' total energy consumption being required to cool the facility. The company said the data center is among the most efficient data centers in the world, with a low power usage effectiveness (PUE) of 1.08, compared with the industry average of 1.92.

Yahoo said the data center will consume at least 40 percent less energy and at least 95 percent less water than conventional data centers, save enough energy to power more than 9,000 New York state households annually, save enough energy to power approximately 300,000 CFL light bulbs for one year, run 24/7 and save enough energy to power approximately 1.1 million laptops for a year.

"Yahoo's leadership in designing and building environmentally sustainable data centers is solidified as we begin operating one of the most energy-efficient data centers in the world," said Yahoo Executive Vice President of Service Engineering and Operations David Dibble. "With the Yahoo Chicken Coop design, we are spending less than one cent for cooling for every dollar spent on electricity. Significantly reducing our electricity usage is not only good for the environment, but also good for our bottom line, giving Yahoo a competitive advantage."

The company also noted the reduced water requirements of the data center, claiming it would save more water per year than flows over the Niagara Falls for a minute straight (4 million cubic feet per minute is what the Falls flow on average), or enough water in one year to provide drinking water for 200,000 people to sustain a healthy life: Approximately 180 gallons per year per person is the average amount of drinking water over a lifetime.

The New York Power Authority will supply hydropower for the data center. "By working closely with Yahoo and providing low-cost hydropower to the data center, the NYPA is creating a more sustainable environment in the region and supporting the creation of jobs for western New Yorkers in the information technology sector," said Richard Kessel of the NYPA.

In addition to the data center, the site will support 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. The company said the Lockport facility is integral to powering the network of Yahoo sites, including Mail, Messenger, Flickr, News, Sports, Finance and Answers.

New York Gov. David Paterson said having an international company of Yahoo's caliber establish a presence in Lockport opens the door to "enormous possibility" in locating other high-tech companies to western New York. "As a world-class online media company, I would like to welcome Yahoo to New York state," he said. "I am excited to see that Yahoo is well under way with their investment in New York state and look forward to seeing the many opportunities this will bring to Niagara County and the broader western New York community."