This post is by Sheryl Canter, an online writer and editorial manager at Environmental Defense Fund.
Ideas for businesses, and hope for everyone concerned about global warming – that’s what you get with our just-published, first annual Innovations Review. This new report highlights innovative processes, products, and technologies in a range of different industries.
Green business practices can drive cost savings and create new markets, giving companies a competitive advantage. But what’s next after the basics, like switching to energy-saving light bulbs and printing double-sided?
All server farms must be kept cool. In fact, the average data center is 40 times more energy intensive than an office building. For Affordable Internet Services Online (AISO) , which is in the desert, cooling is a particular challenge. But AISO is able to meet 100 percent of its power needs – for both its office and server farm – from 120 solar panels.
How is this possible? The answer lies in a combination of efficient design and innovative technology. For example, the AISO facility features:
- A unique air cooling system blows in cool air from outside when the temperature drops below 50°F (as often happens at night).
- Twelve-inch walls with high-grade insulation.
- Servers running at 75 percent capacity – compared to the usual 10 percent – thanks to virtualization software that lets one server host multiple applications.
The data center cost 60 percent more to build than a standard site. But AISO saves $3,000 a month in utility bills, and its environmentally responsible business practices have attracted a fast-growing client base.
In short, the company’s investment is rapidly paying off.
Check out the full report for examples of other innovative business practices in real estate, manufacturing, fleet management, finance, and more.