Saturday, November 3, 2007

Industry Pacesetter: Digital Realty's LEED-Gold Datacenter

Hurray! Digital Realty Trust (NYSE: DLR) recently announced that its datacenter at 350 East Cermak Road in Chicago has earned the first LEED-Gold certification in the US for a datacenter from the USGBC.

Click here to see more details on the property.

Note that none of the information available reports on the targeted performance improvements that are expected because the building has undergone a green renovation.

Digital Realty also reports that they are currently greening several other buildings in Chicago, Northern Virginia and Santa Clara with the goal of either LEED Silver or Gold for all of them.

Green Datacenters are a Great Leap Forward for Green Building

While all green real estate is good, a green datacenter gets special attention due to its deep impact on energy savings over conventional buildings and the great expansion of green building best practices for existing buildings.

Dave Ohara, who writes for Microsoft’s TechNet magazine, reported that “datacenters consume nearly forty times more energy than conventional office buildings”. He went on to say:

A typical US datacenter can account for up to 15%-20% of that company’s operating costs. Several studies report that datacenters in the US are responsible for between 1.2%-2.0% of the nation’s entire energy consumption. That means, if you analyze datacenters together as a single industry, their aggregate level of energy consumption would put them in the top five US industries with the greatest energy consumption.

350 East Cermak's LEED-Gold certification was earned for greening an existing property – currently a tougher challenge in the industry. I know several investors who have become adept at developing green buildings from scratch, but still struggle with retraining their organizations, collaborating with tenants and raising the capital to green their existing portfolios in a way that generates decent returns. Digital Realty’s announcement of getting this done can provide a positive example of how market driven investors are using the green challenge to their, their shareholders and the planet's advantage.

Get the Green Datacenter Video

Interested in best practices for greening a datacenter? Digital Realty's Vice President of Engineering talked with InfoWorld about his company's initiatives in greening datacenters a few months back and provided lots of specifics that help to better understand the decision process involved with greening this asset type. For practitioners serious about greening their assets, this video is definitely worth the time spent.

Now I can't help but look ahead to the next question:

How will greening an existing investment portfolio affect a publicly-traded REIT's stock price?

It will be interesting to see how that develops.

Photo credit: 350 Cermak - Digital Realty Trust

1 comment:

Jacob Cynamon said...

Wow! I toured that data center last winter and was impressed with their build-out and operations. However, I didn't know that they were going to qualify for LEED certification. Like Dave O'Hara says, data centers are like black holes that only consume electricity, but tons of it. I'm glad to hear that DRT is taking a lead - no pun intended - on moving toward more energy-efficient and sustainable design.