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Earth Day Exclusive: A Look Inside Involta’s Award-Winning Idaho Data Center

04/22/2023

In recent years, the technology industry has been facing growing concerns over the impact of data centers on the environment. With the explosion of data creation and storage, data centers have become substantial consumers of energy in the world. As we focus on Earth Day 2023, we want to see where the digital infrastructure industry can work to be more aware of its impact on the planet. At Involta, a more sustainable mission has long been at the forefront. A case in point is the company’s Victory View data center in Iowa, which was recognized for its commitment to energy efficiency.

Sustainable measures have been a core pillar for Involta since its inception and long before “green” became an industry buzzword. In fact, Involta Founder and Vice Chair of its Board of Directors, Bruce Lehrman, authored a chapter in the Amazon bestseller Greener Data: Actionable Insights from Industry Leaders. In his chapter he wrote: “We wanted green initiatives to be at the figurative – and literal – core of our organization, and we differentiated Involta by focusing on how to be as efficient and green as we could as an operator.”

With that said, let’s pull back the digital curtain to showcase everything this facility has employed to earn statewide recognition for its sustainability efforts

Victory View: Keeping it Cool

Located in Boise, Involta’s Victory View data center was designed with sustainability in mind. The facility was built to take advantage of the climate and geography around it, including a white roof to reflect direct sunlight off the building. When it is less than 35 degrees outside, free cooling pumps kick in, eliminating the need for compressors on the Computer Room Air Conditioner (CRAC) units. In addition, those units have variable frequency drive fan motors. This allows the fans’ speeds to increase or decrease as needed, reducing the constant power draw that a fixed-speed motor would have. What’s more, it’s all powered by two 500kW UPS (uninterrupted power supply) with Lithium-Ion battery backup.

Innovation is also a core pillar for Involta, and the company partnered with DuctSox®, the leading manufacturer of fabric HVAC air dispersion systems, to develop DataSox™, the industry’s first customizable, porous/diffuse fabric ventilation system. DataSox is a round, fabric HVAC diffuser system that distributes air into data center cold aisles. A key differentiator of the system is the flexibility of directional cooling with adjustable nozzles for high-density IT equipment racks.

Small Steps, Bold and Bright Action

What can be seen as a simple change has made a significant impact on the data center:  the use of LED lighting. LED lights use significantly less energy than traditional lighting and have a longer lifespan, reducing the amount of waste generated from replacing bulbs. In addition, all of the facility’s faucets are touchless, reducing water consumption.

Reducing electronic waste (e-waste) is another big focus at Victory View. The company is committed to recycling e-waste and has implemented a robust program to ensure that all electronic waste generated by the facility is properly disposed of. This initiative is communicated to all of Victory View’s tenants from the first time a prospective tenant steps into the facility. Victory View is committed to recycling everything from nuts and bolts to cabling to servers and hardware.

An almost fully remote workforce reduces environmental impact as well. Over 90% of the employees who work at the facility do so remotely, a trend that has been gaining momentum in recent years. The company’s remote work policy not only reduces its carbon footprint by eliminating the need for commuting, but it also allows the company to tap into a talent pool without location barriers.

A Win for Involta, a Win for Idaho

All of these initiatives at Involta’s Victory View Data Center resulted in an energy reduction of more than 1.3M kWh and a cost savings of over $110,000, earning the company a nomination and ultimate recognition for these substantial results. Earlier this year, the facility was honored with the 2022 Idaho Awards for Leadership in Energy Efficiency in the Buildings category.

The Victory View data center is a testament to Involta’s commitment to sustainability and innovation. Its purposeful design, energy-efficient cooling and e-cycling program show that it is possible to build and operate a data center that is both efficient and environmentally responsible.

To learn more about Involta’s Victory View Data Center, and a virtual look inside, click here.

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