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Illinois data center rated LEED Gold

The University of Illinois’ National Petascale Computing Facility has been certified LEED® Gold in the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) rating system, which is the recognized standard for measuring sustainability in construction.

The building, which opened in summer 2010, is home to supercomputers and other high-performance systems operated by the National Center for Supercomputing Applications and used by scientists and engineers across the country.

The LEED system awards points in a half-dozen categories, including energy and water efficiency, indoor environmental quality, and innovation in design. NPCF’s energy-saving features include:

  • A highly efficient power distribution system that is based on 480 V power for the computational equipment.
  • Focusing on water-cooled computational and storage equipment. Liquid cooling is two times more efficient that air cooling.
  • External cooling towers that let Mother Nature chill the water needed for cooling the building and the supercomputers a large part of the year. This is expected to cut the chilled water costs for the facility by about $1 million per year.
  • Low-impact landscaping with native prairie plants that thrive without frequent watering or mowing.
  • Using best practice construction methods to improve the air quality environment within the facilty.

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