Photo by Corinne Nicholson
NORCROSS -- In terms of sucking up electricity, data centers tend to be one of the biggest energy bandits.
But Norcross company Corus360 is spending millions to change that perception, planning to open the first certified green data center in Georgia.
"We've been green since the day we started," Chief Operating Officer Tom Lowry said of the company, which refurbishes old or damaged information technology hardware and resells or recycles it. "We believe in it. ... We felt we needed to lead by example."
The company spun off two years ago from another IT conglomerate, but instead of moving to a new area, Lowry said he wanted to stay in the Technology Park, near where many of his 55 employees live.
So the company bought a 35-year-old building, and gutted it.
"Everything was functional, but it was a mess," he said. "It was very inefficient."
Huge concrete panels were taken off the exterior, and the building's prison-like design was converted into walls of windows.
Marketing manager Rachel Patterson said 1.3 million pounds of construction material, mostly from the concrete panels, were recycled during the renovation.
With interior changes, the renovation has cost $4 million, and more work is planned, Lowry said. The company is seeking the gold-certification from the U.S. Green Building Council for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.
In a matter of years, the company's investment could be returned in savings in energy costs, he said.
Because IT equipment produces heat, data centers are known to have high electricity bills because of the need to pump in cool air.
But Corus360 has invested in "chimneys" to take the heat from the equipment and, in the winter, use it to heat the rest of the building.
The data center itself is expected to realize 55 percent in savings, while the building's overall electricity bills are expected to be 27 percent lower. With a $10,000 electricity bill a month, that's big, Lowry said.
"We truly believe in what we are doing," he said. "We want to showcase with technology what you can do to be green and what you can do to be green in a data center."