New Yahoo! data center goes greener with living wall

by Brianna Crandall — October 19, 2016 — Multinational technology company Yahoo! recently selected a G-O2 Living Wall by Plant Connection, Inc., for its newest data center, a 155,000-square-foot facility in Lockport, NY, designed to use 40% less energy and 95% less water (saving 36 million gallons of water per year) than conventional facilities. The air-cooled data center, which can accommodate 50,000 servers, is based on an unlikely design: the chicken coop.

Known as the Yahoo! Commuting Coop (Y!CC), the building is long and narrow to provide good air circulation, similar to a chicken coop. The 120’ x 60’ building design maximizes the flow of outside air for cooling versus conventional power-guzzling mechanical chillers. When the weather gets too hot, the data center uses an evaporative cooling system.

Air enters the building through massive side-wall louvers and gets pulled through the servers. Warm exhaust air rises into the narrow cupola at the top and exits through the louvers located there. The site was chosen with sustainability in mind, from the cool climate that allows outside-air cooling almost year-round from the nearby Niagara Falls.

G-O2 Living Wall

Yahoo! incorporated a G-O2 Living Wall into the new upstate New York call center space to increase the company’s “green” presence and exposure, and to contribute to the aesthetic beauty of the new facility.

Y!CC living wall

Yahoo! selected a curvilinear design spanning 62 feet that flows through seven panel groupings to create one continuous living wall, while providing contrast to the existing façade.

Spanning 62 feet, the living wall is segmented into seven sections. Plant Connection provided Yahoo! with multiple design options to choose from for greening the acoustic wall. Yahoo! selected a curvilinear design that flows through the panel groupings to help create one continuous living wall, while providing contrast to the existing façade.

Nine varieties of sedum were planted to create the organic, free-flowing design, supplying four seasons of interest, color, and texture, says Plant Connection.

Similarly, companies like Google, Apple, and other cloud computing providers are all trying to use renewable energy to power their data centers, helping to contribute to reductions in global warming, cut energy costs, and comply with regulations. But Plant Connection asserts that Yahoo!’s selection of a green wall to greet visitors and employees is a bold statement that the company is being environmentally conscious.

See Y!CC project photos and information about G-O2 Living Walls on the Plant Connection Web site.