Green Data Centers Around the World 2021
February 08, 2021

Global data center energy consumption is so massive, that if all the data center sites in the world were a country, they would rank as the 5th largest energy consumer. With such large amounts of data center energy consumption, many organizations are pioneering new ways to increase energy efficiency, reduce carbon emissions, and decrease operating costs.

Data centers around the world are at the forefront of reducing their environmental impact, driving a new era of sustainability. More and more data centers deserve attention for their innovations. These data centers have some of the best Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) metrics in the world and are proactively taking steps to mitigate any potential environmental impact.

LOR1 – Hillsboro, OR
PUE: 1.06

  • LinkedIn’s flagship data center features rear door heat exchanges to support rack densities up to 32 kW and drive containment to the cabinet level, meaning there are no hot or cold aisles.
  • The facility runs on 100% renewable power and, instead of using energy to create cold air, it gets free cooling by using an advanced water side economizer that communicates with outside air sensors to leverage Oregon’s naturally cool climate.

Project Natick – Orkney Islands, Scotland
PUE: 1.07

  • Project Natick is an underwater data center that can be ordered to size, rapidly deployed, and operate lights out on the sea floor to deliver high-speed cloud services to coastal cities.
  • With the same technique used to cool ships and submarines, raw sea water is pulled in through heat exchangers in the back of the cabinets and then returned into the ocean.
  • The first generation of Project Natick was so successful that another data center four times larger than the original is in development.


  • Google acquired the Artificial Intelligence (AI) firm DeepMind in 2014 for $600 million and has since used the technology to improve its data centers’ energy efficiency, resulting in a 40% reduction in power consumption.
  • Every five minutes, DeepMind collects data from thousands of environmental sensors, feeds it into neural networks that predict how different combinations of potential actions will affect energy consumption, identifies the ideal actions, and sends them to the data center, where the local system verifies and implements them.

Reno, NV

  • Apple partnered with the public utility NV Energy to build a solar farm that provides 200 MW of renewable power to their Reno, NV location. They plan to dedicate up to 5 MW of the solar power to residential and commercial customers.

Papillion, NE

  • Facebook has a commitment to reach 100% renewable energy. To support this goal at their Papillion, NE site, 310 MW of power is generated from a nearby windfarm consisting of 101 turbines spread across 55 square miles.
  • As of 2018, Facebook’s PUE across all global sites was 1.11.

Reno, NV
PUE: 1.20

  • Running 100% on renewable energy since 2016, Switch scored all A grades from the latest Greenpeace Clicking Clean report – the highest possible rating for any organization.
  • Switch constructed two solar power stations in Nevada that provide 179 MW of renewable energy and eliminates 265,000 tons of carbon emissions—the equivalent of 50,000 cars.
  • The colocation company helped develop technology that eliminates chemicals from cooling systems, increasing water conservation by over 400% and saving more than 155 million gallons of water in three years.

United Airlines
Chicago, IL
PUE: 1.09

  • United Airline’s Chicago site leverages KyotoCooling® air-to-air heat transfer technology to maximize free cooling hours and reduce energy consumption by 420 million kWh over 10 years.
  • In the next decade, this technology will save United Airlines $38 million in operational costs, conserve 119 million gallons of water, and reduce carbon emissions by over 250,000 tons.

Tbilisi, Georgia
PUE: 1.02

  • This bitcoin mining data center uses two-phase immersion cooling in which hardware is placed in a tank of 3M™ Novec™ Engineered Fluid which has a low boiling point of 142°F. The hardware heats the fluid, causing it to boil, and the resulting vapor pulls heat away from the hardware components. The vapor then condenses and cools on a condenser coil and drops back into the tank without the use of pumps.
  • BitFury’s innovative cooling system delivers energy savings on cooling as high as 95%.

National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Golden, CO
PUE: 1.04 

  • NREL improved efficiency by replacing 90% of its legacy servers with blade servers that use variable speed fans and energy efficient power supplies and virtualized 70% of their server environment.
  • NREL uses advanced low-energy cooling techniques to provide a 96% reduction in energy consumption, $82,000 in annual utilities savings, and the elimination of nearly 3 million pounds of carbon emissions each year.

Verne Global
Keflavik, Iceland
PUE: 1.06

  • Housed in a former NATO military base, Verne Global’s site in Keflavik is completely powered by geothermal steam and hydroelectricity from glacial rivers. It only uses 10% of the available power capacity on its systems and has a cool local temperature that allows for free air cooling 365 days a year.

Busan Global Cloud Data Center – Busan, South Korea
PUE: 1.39

  • LG CNS makes use of whole-building, chimney-style hot-air exhaust and a hybrid cooling system called the Built-Up Outside Air Cooling System to improve energy efficiency.
  • The company developed software called the Smart Green Platform to automatically control its cooling system and achieve eight months of free cooling each year.
  • In 2014, LG CNS earned a Brill Efficiency Award in the area of design, which placed it in the top 0.1% most efficient data centers in the world.

Lefdal Mine Data Center
Måløy, Norway
PUE: 1.15

  • Located in a converted abandoned mine, Lefdal Mine Data Center uses water from a nearby fjord for cooling and to generate 350MW of power. It boasts zero carbon emissions and a zero net water usage.

Green House Data
Cheyenne, WY
PUE 1.14

  • The naturally cool and dry Wyoming climate makes it ideal for year-round free cooling. The location was also chosen due to the geographic safety of the region.
  • Green House Data’s site in Cheyenne is 75% more efficient than the national average and 100% of its energy is offset by certified wind Renewable Energy Credits.

Iron Mountain
The Underground – Boyers, PA
PUE: 1.3

  • Located 220 feet below ground level, this former mine’s limestone walls and ceilings naturally absorb heat and provide a consistent temperature around 52°F.
  • Among the perks of this unique facility is an underground lake that naturally and efficiently provides cool water to the data center without the use of chillers. In addition, outside light is beamed into the facility through a long ceiling tube which reduces one source of heat.

National Snow & Ice Data Center
Boulder, CO
PUE: 1.25

  • NSIDC uses indirect evaporative cooling to consume 90% less energy than traditional air conditioning with compressors. This technology also does not add any humidity to the room and offers a lower cost of maintenance.
  • Intelligent solar panels and controls power the data center for a total energy savings of 70%.

Reduce Data Center Energy Consumption with DCIM Software

The organizations listed above have made it a top priority to maximize energy efficiency in their data centers. For data center managers who wish to follow their example to save energy and reduce expenses, Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) software is critical for driving efficient behavior. You can’t manage what you don’t measure, and DCIM provides the monitoring and intelligence you need to be smarter about your energy usage. DCIM measures energy usage, automatically calculates PUE to gauge the effectiveness of green initiatives, creates customer billback reports to encourage efficiency, avoids wasting energy on overcooling by showing ASHRAE compliance, and identifies power profiles for each device to easily locate and replace power hogs.


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