BendBroadband beats Facebook to coal-free green data center
By Christina Williams
Editor, Sustainable Business Oregon
Workers install the KyotoCooler at the BendBroadband data center in Bend.
When Facebook took the wraps off its Prineville data center in April, it garnered lots of attention for its energy efficiency technology. But it still wasn't enough for some sustainability advocates who argued that Facebook was still relying on coal-fired power through PaciciCorp to keep its lights on and urged the social networking giant to "Unfriend Coal."
Meanwhile, another green data center quietly opened its doors in nearby Bend. BendBroadband's Vault, a 30,000 square-foot secure data center, announced this week that, in addition to buying carbon credits to offset its emissions, it was buying coal-free power through PacifiCorp's Blue Sky renewable power program.
"We set out to be as environmentally friendly as we could be," said Leonard Weitman, vice president technical operations, BendBroadband. "Being part of the renewable energy program through our utility was part of that."
Tom Furlong, Facebook's director of on-site operations, told Business Journal staff writer Erik Siemers in April that the Blue Sky program was "particular" and that the company had not yet structured the way it would buy its power.
For BendBroadband — to be fair their data center is about one-tenth the size of Facebook's —Weitman said it was an easy one-page application to join the Blue Sky program.
The BendBroadband data center is equally efficient as Facebook's, Weitman said, but it uses different technology.
While Facebook makes use of a ductless evaporative cooling system to cool the center's air — usually the biggest energy expense for a data center — BendBroadband was the third data center in North America to install a KyotoCooling system which cools air without using water.
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