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GE Unveils Platinum LEED-Certified Data Center

data center

GE Appliances & Lighting announced the opening of a revolutionary new data center at its Louisville, Kentucky, USA Appliance Park headquarters. GE approached the design, construction and operation of this facility with the intent of reducing data center energy consumption and lowering environmental impact, while providing tremendous computing power to support major product and infrastructure investments now and well into the future.

Of all LEED-certified buildings globally, only 6 percent have achieved Platinum certification, and GE's new facility is the first LEED-Platinum data center in Kentucky. GE's environmental achievement is important considering data center emissions worldwide are growing faster than many other types of carbon emissions. In fact, a McKinsey & Company study estimates carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from data centers will quadruple to exceed emissions from the airline industry by 2020, due to the rapid growth in global demand for computing power.

"GE is joining an elite group of LEED-Platinum data centers around the world," said Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO and founding chair of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). "Given the amount of energy data centers consume, achieving LEED Platinum will help GE reduce its environmental footprint, while moving the industry forward in its effort to reduce the global environmental impact of IT operations."

GE Appliances & Lighting's data center houses 128 cabinets of high-density, high-efficiency servers, providing the computing power necessary to run a global business:

  • The data center is 34 percent better in terms of energy savings than a typical code-compliant building.
  • In addition to installing high-efficiency cooling systems, GE is installing high-density servers to pack more computing power per square foot, reducing the size of the data center floor by half compared to the data center it replaces. This means that less energy is needed to cool the space.
  • Water consumption inside the building is 42 percent lower than the industry baseline by using ultra low-flow fixtures. Outside the building, water consumption is reduced 100 percent.

GE has offset 35 percent of the data center's predicted annual energy consumption through the purchase of off-site renewable energy.

"As GE invests in the business and creates more manufacturing jobs in the U.S., our new high-efficiency data center will help us manage energy costs so we can compete in a global marketplace," said Alan Kocsi, chief information officer (CIO), GE Appliances & Lighting. "GE's new data center will also provide the high-density computing necessary to support global business growth and significant manufacturing-revitalization efforts that will provide customers with innovative technologies, high-quality products and better customer service."

Rather than building the new data center from scratch, GE revitalized an existing building for the new data center. It uses 98 percent of the walls, floors and roof of unutilized factory space.

The center also received LEED credit for:

  • Sourcing 51 percent of construction materials regionally.
  • Building with 30 percent recycled materials.
  • Diverting 85 percent of on-site generated construction waste from the landfill (i.e. recycling).

GE invested in the first commercial UNIVAC computer in the early 1950s when Appliance Park opened, and it is now with that same pioneering spirit that GE is preparing for future growth. Exceeding industry standards for computing power, GE's data center houses servers designed to operate at 18 to 24 kilowatts (kW) per cabinet, compared to the industry average of 4 to 7 kW per cabinet. This sheer computing "horsepower" provides GE with the flexibility to meet ever-changing customer demands.

The new data center will also support business investments across the appliances and lighting product portfolios. Specifically, the new center supports GE Appliances' $1 billion investment to upgrade all of its major appliance product lines and create Manufacturing Centers of Excellence, which combined will create 1,300 U.S. jobs by 2014. The new data center will operate information systems that enable technology and manufacturing teams to run state-of-the-art factories and:

  • Implement Lean manufacturing processes that improve operational efficiencies to drive down cost.
  • Improve customer service through increased fill rates and better billing systems.
  • Enhance product quality and innovation.

GE Appliances & Lighting leveraged cutting-edge data center technologies from GE Energy's Industrial Solutions and Digital Energy businesses, including Digital Energy's uninterruptable power supply (UPS) units with eBoost technology, which enables data centers to achieve up to 99 percent UPS efficiency without sacrificing reliability. Industrial Solutions provided Entellysis low-voltage switchgear and power-quality systems.

For more information, including explanation and documentation of claims.

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