Denver — A data center designed by CH2M HILL/IDC Architects for Grainger in Lake Forest, Ill., has been certified as the world’s first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) facility of its type. IDC Architects is part of CH2M HILL. The data center’s advanced cooling system uses outside air to cool the facility, and is designed to consume up to 50 percent less energy for cooling than conventional data centers.

“Our goal is always to build the most sustainable facility possible,” said Gail Edgar, vice president of Grainger Real Estate and Facilities Services. “One of the most important components of the project was to realize significant energy savings by maintaining a low Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE), which measures the energy used beyond the IT load.”

This Grainger data center’s air cooling design is anticipated to have a PUE rating of 1.2 at full capacity compared to the industry average of 2.0.

Another significant aspect of this project was its application of the latest “Version 4” LEED BD+C certification criteria. Throughout the project, CH2M HILL worked closely with Grainger and the U.S. Green Building Council to refine the new Version 4 standards, which are intended to bring sustainable design to a broader range of buildings.

At a time when global demand for green data centers is expected to more than double between 2012 and 2016, the Grainger facility is a model for the kind of innovative technology that will make that growth of energy-saving data centers possible.

"The Grainger team has not only created a space that mitigates greenhouse gas emissions and saves money through reduced energy and water use, but with the first LEED v4 BD+C project, they are also playing an essential role in driving the market toward healthier, better buildings for all," said Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO and founding chairman of the U.S. Green Building Council.