Green Computing Case Studies

Computerworld's "Top 12 Green-IT Users" list links each organization's name to a sustainable IT mini-case study. These organization include businesses from a variety of sectors, a non-profit, and a government agency. I was stuck by unique and unexpected implementations:

Health insurer Highmark's "unique energy-conserving feature is a 100,000-gallon water tank underneath the data center. Highmark uses the tank to collect rainwater that runs off the roof and then uses the water to cool the data center, which evaporates water at a rate of about 12 gallons a day."

Cable media company "Discovery did the right thing by focusing on an audit first, since abandoned servers are a common problem. 'Many companies have servers that are running but not doing anything,' [Forrester analyst Christopher] Mines says. He says companies should focus on this and other 'quick wins'."

"First National of Nebraska Inc. . . . took its first bold step in 1999, when it became the first company to build a data center powered entirely by fuel cell technology, which creates electricity by combining a fuel source and an oxidant . . .The fuel cells, which emit no greenhouse gases, eliminated the need for uninterruptible power supplies, helping the data center achieve a 'seven 9s' uptime rating."

"But probably the coolest thing Marriott is doing right now is taking place 300 feet below ground, in a former Pennsylvania mine. There, in a facility owned by Iron Mountain Inc., the company is building a second data center that it expects to complete by year's end. The mine maintains an ambient air temperature of 53 Fahrenheit."

Watch for more ideas from Computerworld's Top 12 in future posts.