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Businesses Will Pay More For 'Green' Data Centers

More than half of its customers are willing to pay 5% to 10% more for green products and green services, according to a survey of customers by managed hosting specialist Rackspace.

The EPA sees the data center as "the number one opportunity for businesses to reduce energy use," said Andrew Fanara, a member of the Energy Star product specifications development team at EPA in a keynote address at AFCOM's Data Center World in Grapevine, Texas, on Sept. 17.

"Electricity is the mother's milk of any data center," Fanara said. "Renewable energy resources are not reasonable alternative for most data centers now, and won't be for sometime. Businesses need to find ways to buy themselves time with more efficient operation."

While Rackspace is unable to use renewable energy sources for all its direct data center power requirements, as part of the GreenSpace effort, the company has began purchasing carbon offsets from NativeEnergy, a marketer of renewable energy credits, for each server it installs in one of its data centers. The offsets support the Owl Feather War Bonnet Wind Farm project, a wind turbine effort on the Rosebud Sioux Reservation in South Dakota, and the Schrack Family Dairy Farm methane project in Pennsylvania.

At its data center near London, Rackspace has a program with the International Tree Foundation in which carbon emissions is calculated and then trees are planted to offset the amount. To date, Rackspace has planted more than 1,100 trees. Rackspace in London is also using a company that creates electricity using biomass fuel.

The company also works with vendors in early qualification and adoption of more energy efficient processors, including recently engaging with Advance Micro Devices in the release of its Barcelona quad-core processor, Engates said.

"It is in the data center that we can have the biggest impact," he said. "We are always going to use a lot of power, and more of it over time as we continue to add customers. We feel, however, we can make impact on how we use power, and we understand now just how important our efforts are to our customers as well."

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