Data Center earns high efficiency grade

NetApp RTP Data Center Is First-Ever Data Center to Earn EPA's Energy Star for Superior Energy Efficiency.


NetApp announced that its dynamic data center has earned the U.S. EPA's prestigious ENERGY STAR, the national symbol for protecting the environment through superior energy efficiency. The RTP data center is the first data center to achieve this distinction from the EPA.

EPA's ENERGY STAR energy performance scale helps organizations assess how efficiently their data centers use energy relative to similar data centers nationwide. A data center that scores a 75 or higher on EPA's 1-100 scale is eligible for the ENERGY STAR. The RTP data center achieved a near-perfect mark by scoring a 99.

The RTP data center is primarily used to further research initiatives and create and improve storage efficiency and shared infrastructure technologies for delivering cloud computing and IT on demand to help customers around the world accelerate their business. Due to its design and construction, the RTP data center also serves as a blueprint for organizations that are looking to design their own data centers. In the time that the RTP data center has been open, representatives from more than 500 organizations have toured the facility. The goal of these tours is to share NetApp practices and design efforts with customers and noncustomers alike so that the same sustainable and efficient design approach can be applied around the world to help lower overall data center power consumption. The RTP data center design has reduced CO2 emissions for NetApp by approximately 95,000 tons per year, which is equivalent to removing 16,000 cars per year from the road.

To earn the ENERGY STAR, NetApp implemented the following features in the RTP data center:

  • 4 F average supply air temperature: Using a higher temperature threshold on supply air (74 sF instead of 55 to 60 F) allows NetApp to dramatically reduce cooling costs.
  • Airside economizer: The data center is cooled by using just outside air (free cooling) 67% of the time during the year.
  • Pressure-controlled room: Modulating fans, based on NetApp's proprietary technology, supply pressure-controlled rooms and regulate the volume of air to avoid oversupplying air and wasting energy.
  • Cold aisle containment: The cold room separates the cold and hot air streams to protect supply air temperatures from being affected by hot air returning from the racks.
  • Overhead air distribution: Instead of pumping cold air up through the floors (raised floors), overhead air distribution takes advantage of cold/hot air buoyancy and eliminates ductwork, reducing the energy needed for fans.

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