Georgia: Data Center and Historic Municipal Building Go Green
|Positive Impact:||Savannah demonstrates good stewardship of federal funds, makes data center more efficient.|
|Partners:||City of Savannah, EERE Energy Efficiency Conservation Block Grant|
|EERE Investment:||$1.4 million|
|Clean Energy Sector:||Energy-saving homes, buildings, and manufacturing|
Data centers can consume 100 to 200 times more electricity than standard office spaces, making them prime candidates for energy-efficient designs that can save money and reduce electricity use. In Savannah, Georgia, energy savings from the greening of a data center and the retrofit of the city’s visitor’s center are helping the city reduce its overall operating budget—freeing up public funds for other uses, saving taxpayer dollars, and serving as a model for others to follow.
The city used $353,000 in EERE Energy Efficiency Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) funds to purchase the mechanical system used in the new building, as well as to connect to a high-efficiency chilled water air handling system. The previous building was equipped with outdated, inefficient equipment, and the technology upgrades have more than doubled the center’s efficiency. Before, the power usage effectiveness and data center infrastructure efficiency rating of the previous building was 35.6%; the rating of the new building is 73.7%. As a result, the cost to cool the facility decreased from $2.86 to $1.37 for every dollar spent to power it. This new, innovative design allows for the equipment to be cooled directly by a mechanical system built into the unit, which is an added benefit in coping with Georgia’s summer heat. As a result, the city is slated to save approximately $200,000 per year as a result of the savings that will come not only from better cooling, but from the more efficient servers and the improved architecture of the system, which allows for better air circulation.
Building on the initial EECBG work, Savannah has sought ways to continue to support energy efficiency activity programs beyond the Recovery Act through the city’s Thrive Sustainability Initiative. Savannah established the Thrive Sustainability Initiative in 2007 as part of the then-Governor’s energy challenge, which committed all state agencies to reduce energy consumption in their facilities 15% below 2007 levels by 2020. Local governments were challenged to match the state’s effort. Savannah took the challenge to exemplify its commitment to environmental preservation efforts, and the EECBG grant has been critical in helping the city reach these lofty goals. The Thrive Sustainability Initiative aims to reduce the city government’s environmental footprint through research, education, and implementation to conserve natural and financial resource consumption in city operations.
The Weatherization and Intergovernmental Programs Office (WIP) provides funding and technical assistance to its partners in state and local governments, Indian tribes, and international agencies to facilitate the adoption of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies.
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