300 Million Watts of Google: Data centers waste vast amounts of energy

By | September 24, 2012

Each day in the U.S., stupendous amounts of data are set in motion as people download movies on iTunes, check credit-card balances on Visa’s website, send Yahoo e-mail with files attached, buy products on Amazon, post on Twitter or read newspapers online. Each one of the tens of thousands of data centers that exist to support the explosion of digital information can use enough energy to power a medium-size town, according to one expert. They also waste vast amounts of electricity, and many have been cited for violating clean-air regulations, interviews and documents show.

Online companies typically run their facilities at maximum capacity around the clock, whatever the demand. As a result, data centers can waste 90 percent or more of the electricity they pull off the grid, The Times found in a year-long examination.

To guard against a power failure, they further rely on banks of generators that emit diesel exhaust. The pollution from data centers has increasingly been cited by the authorities for violating clean-air regulations, documents show. In Silicon Valley, many data centers appear on the state government’s Toxic Air Contaminant Inventory, a roster of the area’s top stationary diesel polluters.

Worldwide, the digital warehouses use about 30 billion watts of electricity, roughly equivalent to the output of 30 nuclear power plants, according to estimates industry experts compiled for The Times. Data centers in the U.S. account for one-quarter to one-third of that load, the estimates show.

“It’s staggering for most people, even people in the industry, to understand the numbers, the sheer size of these systems,” said Peter Gross, who helped design hundreds of data centers. “A single data center can take more power than a medium-size town.” …

A few companies say they are using extensively re-engineered software and cooling systems to decrease wasted power. Among them are Facebook and Google, which also have redesigned their hardware. Still, according to recent disclosures, Google’s data centers consume nearly 300 million watts and Facebook’s about 60 million watts. …

via Data centers waste vast amounts of energy – The Denver Post.

0 thoughts on “300 Million Watts of Google: Data centers waste vast amounts of energy

  1. jim carlin

    the question is do you and your orginization do anything to conserveor recycle?? it’s easy to point fingers at otherscleaning up my side of the street is my responsibility

    Date: Mon, 24 Sep 2012 21:50:59 +0000 To: puddlyd@hotmail.com

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