Data Centre Launches ‘Eco-friendly’ Facility

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The opening of a new hosted services facility in Bedfordshire pushes green IT boundaries, according to provider Blue Chip

IT services provider, Blue Chip, today announces the opening of their latest UK premier ‘Eco’ data centre.

The provider said the development of this £5 million, five-acre data centre site in Bedfordshire, has been designed to offer the most up-to-date eco-friendly technology in the UK – using half the energy of data facilities of a similar size.

Room to grow

It will become home to many of Blue Chip’s existing cross-industry customer base and provide it with the capability to expand its portfolio of services more effectively in terms of energy consumption and efficiency.

Housing up to 600 racks, efficiencies from the 2 Mega Watt facility will provide gains in the speed of services and operational costs that can be passed onto customers through such IT services as hosting, service management, consolidation, cloud computing and virtualisation.

“At more than 26,000 square foot, our new data centre significantly expands our offerings and abilities in meeting the demand from our customers for our hosted and managed services,” Brian Meredith, managing director for Blue Chip.

The centre’s green credentials, and resulting claim to be one of the most efficient data centres in Europe, were made possible with an interest-free loan from the Carbon Trust under its ‘Big Business Refit Campaign’.

Reducing electricity use by 60 percent

Blue Chip has invested the loan in evaporative cooling technology that is more energy efficient than traditional refrigeration, and which it said will produce significant savings on energy bills by reducing the electricity consumption for all the IT equipment and servers.

Pierre Dufour, head of the Carbon Trust loan scheme, said: “The cooling technology which Blue Chip brought with an interest-free Carbon Trust loan will enable the facility to reduce its electricity use by over 60 percent.  Blue Chip is just one of over 2,000 businesses taking Carbon Trust loans last year. Together they used our loans to fit £70m of energy efficient equipment – providing savings of over £20m a year, as well as 140,000 tonnes of CO2.”

Simon Mingay, Gartner research vice president told eWEEK Europe that, like “free” air-cooling systems, evaporative cooling was a very effective method of reducing heating, cooling and air-conditioning (HVAC) energy consumption. But he added the data centre owner would have to do much more to back up its ‘Eco’ tag.

Blue Chip said it also uses a Warm Start Intel service to reduce the time needed to restore servers and ensures the process is completed without complications. The N+1 class facility also features independent A and B power feeds with N+1 back-up power; a number of fibre communications via multiple Tier 1 suppliers; and two11KV HV grid power supplies to the site, in addition to the Adiabatic and CRAC cooling systems.

A tree-planting scheme will also supplement the centre’s green claims. But Mingay was sceptical of its value. “Carbon offsetting is such a poor strategy, I thought we’d moved beyond that now,” he added.

Green schemes

This week, the Building Research Establishment (BRE Global) extended its BREEAM rating scheme for buildings to include data centres. The new BREEAM data centre scheme is intended to help organisations assess the environmental  impact of their data centre, and should be a help as pressure increases for zero-carbon buildings.

Meanwhile, Next Generation Data (NGD) Europe, based in Newport, claims to be the only data centre operator in Europe to run a facility on 100 percent renewable energy.

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