New LEED Requirements for Data Centers

Julius Neudorfer
It looks like I missed an important development in my 2011 predictions.

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), which developed the LEED building standards, has a draft document entitled "Building Design & Construction" that covers many types of buildings such as schools, warehouses and data centers. It is quite detailed and comprehensive, covering design and construction, but it does not seem to distinguish any difference between a grocery warehouse from a data warehouse. 

For example, it mandates that occupants must have the ability to individually control the temperature for their personal comfort. This can be accomplished by individual temperature controls or by "Operable windows [that] may be used in lieu of controls for occupants."

And while some vendor are offering "chimney" cabinets to prevent mixing hot air with cold, the USGBC apparently has a somewhat different approach, because it includes statements such as:

All indoor fireplaces and woodstoves must have solid glass enclosures or doors that seal when closed.

As I said, this may seem humorous when thinking of a data center, but there seems to be no delineation between the requirements for a school, a warehouse or a data center.

While this is only a draft, and its intents are to improve sustainability and efficiency, it seems to be written without much input from the data center community. I would urge everyone in the industry to download and read this draft immediately.

The deadline to comment is Jan. 14, 2011. Without any industry comments, this draft could be ratified and then adopted as a requirement by many local and state building departments, as well as federal building standards for all new data centers. Our thanks to Jack Pouchet of Emerson for bringing this to everyone's attention on his Hot Aisle Insight post on LinkedIn.

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Jan 5, 2011 9:01 AM Gary Thornton Gary Thornton  says:
This sounds very like the situation we had in UK with the BRE Assessment Method (BREEAM) when it appeared in the 1990's. BREEAM is voluntary and is roughly aligned with LEED in the US and covers a very wide range of non-domestic buildings, so it can be inappropriately applied to very specialised environments. However, with valuable input from Digital Realty Trust (DRT) the BREEAM rating scheme for buildings has been extended to cover datacentres. The scheme has been adopted for the design, construction and operation of DRT datacentres in the UK. I support Julius' view that this is an opportunity for the wider data centre community to get involved in shaping their own destiny, after all DRT have shown it can be done. Reply
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