The creators of the iPad, iPhone, and iPod are going to be building America’s largest end-user-owned, onsite solar array at their North Carolina data center.
Apple’s Maiden, North Carolina data center is already one of the most energy-efficient of its kind, earning the LEED Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council, the highest possible certification from LEED. In typical Apple fashion, they note that they “know of no other data center of comparable size that has achieved this level of LEED certification.”
The energy-efficient design elements of the Maiden facility include:
- A chilled water storage system to improve chiller efficiency by transferring 10,400 kWh of electricity consumption from peak to off-peak hours each day.
- Use of “free” outside air cooling through a waterside economizer operation during night and cool-weather hours, which, along with water storage, allows the chillers to be turned off more than 75 percent of the time.
- Extreme precision in managing cooling distribution for cold-air containment pods, with variable-speed fans controlled to exactly match air flow to server requirements from moment to moment.
- Power distributed at higher voltages, which increases efficiency by reducing power loss.
- White cool-roof design to provide maximum solar reflectivity.
- High-efficiency LED lighting combined with motion sensors.
- Real-time power monitoring and analytics during operations.
- Construction processes that utilized 14 percent recycled materials, diverted 93 percent of construction waste from landfills, and sourced 41 percent of purchased materials within 500 miles of the site.
Now, though, Apple will be adding to this impressive list a 100-acre, 20-megawatt solar array that will supply 42 million kilowatt hours of renewable energy every year. Apple will also be installing a 5-megawatt fuel cell installation that will be powered by 100 percent biogas and provide more than 40 million kilowatt hours of 24×7 baseload renewable energy annually.
The news was made as part of the release of Apple’s facilities 2012 report (pdf), which outlines the nature of Apple’s facilities across the planet and their environmental impact therein.