Greenpeace Grades Top Data Centers on Energy Efficiency

(Ping! Zine Web Hosting Magazine) – Are you operating a dirty data center? Efficiency has long been a primary focus as more companies look to make their facilities run better and save money, especially in an era dominated by the cloud. Also significant is what, if any effect operational data centers have on local and global environments.

On Tuesday, environmental protection organization Greenpeace unveiled a report analyzing the carbon footprint of data centers belonging to some top industry players.

Casey Harrell of Greenpeace explained cloud computing in a blog post. “It turns out the companies that give us the cloud keep all that data in huge warehouses called data centers, and those use lots of electricity, much of which comes from dirty, dangerous energy like coal and nuclear power,” commented Harrell.

“This problem is growing fast. We found that if the cloud were its own country, it would rank fifth in the world for how much electricity it uses, and that electricity demand will triple by 2020!,” Harrell continued.

While applauding the efforts of companies including Facebook, Google and Yahoo! for using clean energy (they received mostly high grades), Greenpeace wasn’t so kind to some other industry leaders. Greenpeace rated top companies in categories including transparency, infrastructure siting, energy efficiency and GHG mitigation along with renewable energy investment and advocacy.

Some of Greenpeace’s most scathing criticism focused on retail giant Amazon who received an “F” in every category except for energy efficiency and GHG Mitigation (for which it received a “D”). “Despite its significant size and resources, AWS does not appear to have made any purchases or investments in renewable electricity for its facilities,” the report stated.

Tech giant Apple didn’t do much better, receiving a “D” in almost every category except infrastructure siting where it did even worse, receiving an “F” grade. Greenpeace cited Apple’s reliance on coal power through iCloud facilities in North Carolina and Oregon. Meanwhile, other companies’ efforts analyzed in the report pertained to Rackspace Hosting (received a “C” on all categories), Oracle, IBM, Microsoft and Twitter. To view Greenpeace’s report as a pdf, go here (