Green Milestone for Data Centers as Citi Scores Sector’s First LEED Platinum

As the business world continues to realize the benefits of integrating green building practices, Citi’s newly completed data center in Frankfurt, Germany, has earned a LEED Platinum rating from the U.S. Green Building Council, marking the first time a data center property has received the Council’s highest rating.“We’re seeing very large increases year to year of projects seeking LEED ratings,” Marc Heisterkamp, director of commercial real estate for the Green Building Council, told CPN. “The bigger picture is companies like Citi, which is a great example, integrating green building into all their real estate platforms. On Earth Day they announced that they certified over 100 bank branches of Citi Financial.” Other major Citi projects that have received some level of LEED certification include data centers in Singapore and Georgetown, Texas, two Citi office parks in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and a 15-story skyscraper in Queens, N.Y. “Many companies are embedding and making this more of their standard practices reaching across banking and data centers, new and existing projects,” Heisterkamp said. Sustainability during the design, construction and operation phases was a primary consideration in the delivery of the 230,000-square-foot building, Citi officials said. Its design was executed with no increased cost over more conventional data centers and without adversely affecting reliability and resilience of the systems it houses, according to Citi. Special attention was focused on the significant impacts of energy, water and waste. Among its features are that it uses 30 percent of the power required for services that a conventional data center would use and optimized cooling design resulting in enhanced free cooling rate of 63 percent. “It is very unique, as data centers are typically huge consumers of energy. Even the efficient ones are higher [consumers] than an office building or warehouse,” Heisterkamp said. “Data centers go a whole different direction because of the technology involved and the requirements are very specific.” Heisterkamp said there is growth for data centers seeking LEED certification. “Data centers weren’t originally a target market [for LEED certification] because it is a very unique environment, but as data centers are starting to [seek certification] it’s a very important market to influence,” he said. “We’re examining how we can get it to be more widely adopted, as it has been in office and retail.”