The economics of clean-data-center innovation

Table of Contents

  1. Summary
  2. Introduction
  3. Renewable energy at the forefront
  4. Solar’s questionable returns
  5. Betting against the future
  6. Campaigning for credit
  7. Less is more
  8. Metrics mania
  9. Diminishing federal and state incentives
  10. Conclusion
  11. What’s next
  12. About Cindy Waxer

1. Summary

Around the world, data centers consume around 1.5 percent of total electricity demand, a figure that is expected to increase significantly. Greenpeace predicts power consumption will grow 19 percent by 2013 to 31 gigawatts. To cut power and, with it, costs, tech titans like Google, Apple, and Facebook are aggressively pursuing strategies to cut electricity use by greening their data centers.

But do energy-efficiency gains justify huge capital outlays? This report attempts to answer that question by looking at the ways in which companies are greening their data centers and attempting to achieve social, economic, and environmental value.

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