Photos: How Apple, Google, Facebook and Microsoft data centers are using clean energy
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Data centers use massive amounts of energy
According to Green House Data, the world’s data centers use as much energy as the output of 30 nuclear power plants, which is about 1.5 percent of all energy use in the world. Data center traffic is expected to quadruple by 2016. Big companies like Microsoft, Google, Facebook, and Apple are starting to reduce their carbon footprint with clean energy-powered data centers.
Apple's data centers powered 100% by renewable energy
Last year, Apple said its data centers are now 100 percent powered by renewable energy. That’s a 114 percent increase since 2010.
Apple's renewable energy-powered data centers
Apple’s data center in Maiden, North Carolina is LEED Platinum certified. The onsite solar photovoltaic array, which is 100 acres, has an annual production capacity of 42 million kWh of clean energy.
Apple's data center design
Apple’s Maiden, North Carolina data center is a model of energy efficiency. In October 2013, they opened a second photovoltaic facility on nearby land and built a fuel-cell installation, which uses directed biogas, that is the largest non-utility installation in the country. The power sources are connected to the local energy grid and produce enough energy to power 13,600 homes a year.
Bloom Energy supplying fuel cells to Apple
In 2012, Apple announced that California-based Bloom Energy would provide the solid oxide fuel cells for its data center in North Carolina. Bloom Energy also supplies fuel cells to eBay, AT&T, Adobe, and Google.
Facebook's data center in Iceland
Facebook has 45 acres in Keflavik, Iceland to build out data centers. Iceland is a great location for these centers because of its low energy costs, cold temperatures for cooling, and high performance connections to the U.S. and Europe.
Facebook's data center in Sweden
In June of last year, Facebook announced a new data center in the Arctic Circle. Cooling costs are far lower, and the internet connection is extremely fast in this part of Sweden. It also uses hydroelectricity from a nearby river.
Microsoft's wind energy plan
Late last year, Microsoft announced its Keechi wind project. The company bought 110 megawatts of energy from a wind farm near Fort Worth, Texas to power its San Antonio data center with clean energy.
Microsoft's energy-smart buildings
Microsoft is studying how to use IT to reduce environmental impacts in their buildings and data centers instead of retrofitting outdated systems. According to the EPA, Microsoft is purchasing enough green power to meet 80 percent of their electricity use in the U.S.
Google's Mountain View campus
Google has made 15 solar and wind investments, totaling more than $1 billion. That means 34 percent of the company’s operations are powered by renewable energy.
Google's wind farms
Google has invested greatly in wind farms. To date, the company has signed six contracts for more than 630 MW of energy, which is enough to power 210,000 U.S. homes.
Google's rainwater retention pond in South Carolina
At the Berkeley County, South Carolina data center, Google is experimenting with a rainwater retention pond to cool the systems.
Google's water cooling system in Taiwan
When temperatures are cooler at night, the water in these pipes cools off and is stored in special tanks. During the day, the water is pumped through the facilities to cool the servers.