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— Blog

Cool Planet Awards: Taking the Initiative for Efficient Data Centers

October 27, 2015

On October 16, 2015, Digital Realty was one of ten 2015 Cool Planet Award winners. The Cool Planet Award recognizes the valuable contribution of Southern California Edison (SCE) business customers who demonstrate exemplary leadership in energy and carbon management within their business size and industry. The combined efforts of the winners have saved nearly 44 million kilowatt hours of electricity since January 2010.

Pictured from left to right: David Rosenheim (TCR), Lisa Arellanes (SCE), Eleana Chou (Digital Realty), Angela Camacho (Digital Realty), Danny Johnson (Digital Realty), Kimberly Rodrigues (SCE) – at Aquarium of the Pacific (Photo credit: Juice Box Media)

When our team was waiting to receive our Cool Planet Award, I realized that Digital Realty was one of the few commercial organizations being honored in 2015. Most of the awards were going to cities or government agencies with big clean energy initiatives. They’re doing a great job, but they have to.

At Digital Realty, we choose to be responsible consumers. The financial and energy savings we’ve achieved in recent years, we’ve passed on to our customers. Southern California Edison has been a great partner as we’ve looked for ways to achieve energy efficiencies. They provide us with a consultant and we receive reports on what programs are available to us. If the ROI is there, we do it.

We’ve installed Variable Frequency Drives in our chillers that modulate operation to meet demand, so we’re not wasting energy or money.

In 2015, Southern California Edison invited us to be part of their pilot lighting retrofit program. We replaced our T8 fluorescent bulbs with LEDs that last longer, consume less energy and don’t contain mercury. We expect to see total payback within three years.

Right now, we’re investigating using reclaimed water for our chillers and landscaping through an adjacent metro water district. Especially in a time of severe drought, the environmental impact should be significant. And we’ll pass on savings from the rebates we receive to our customers.

We take a close look at every opportunity Southern California Edison brings to our attention. Does it make sense financially? Is it technically viable? Danny Johnson and our Technical Operations team are masters at implementing energy efficiency initiatives in the data center. Taken together, the four upgrades we’ve done at El Segundo since 2011 have given us over 3.7 million kilowatt hours of energy savings every year.

Our El Segundo tech ops team disseminates the energy savings programs we pilot here as recommended best practices for the whole Digital Realty portfolio.

Part of the mandate of The Climate Registry (TCR), which sponsors the Cool Planet Awards, is to demonstrate the business value of responsible energy consumption, and that’s what we’ve done at El Segundo. Every one of our energy programs has ended up being a win for us, a win for our customers, and a win for the environment. I feel like we’ve been a poster child for the positive benefits of being ecologically aware. For a data center to win a Cool Planet award is an enormous accomplishment for our entire team.

– Angela Camacho, Real Estate Manager, El Segundo Data Center