Some significant changes this week at The Green Grid. Mark Monroe, a Sun veteran and a Center for ReSource Conservation board member, will be taking over as Executive Director following the departure of Larry Vertal from the post.
The appointment also marks a subtle but important shift in the group’s mission. Though energy efficient IT remains a priority, Monroe’s experience brings an “expanded focus” that will encompass more than server efficiency, power-saving cooling systems and the typical hallmarks of green data centers. The Green Grid spells out this new focus in a press release as an effort “to address growing industry trends towards the sustainability and resource efficiency of information technology.”
The move reflects a data center industry that’s steadily taking into account factors such as energy sourcing and a facility’s effect on a region’s resources. It’s a natural evolution that was foretold by the group’s introduction of the Carbon Usage Effectiveness (CUE) metric in December.
Why does it matter? Last year, Facebook caught some flack by siting its first-ever data center (it currently leases data center space) in Prineville, Ore., a region that’s primarily serviced by coal power plants. Suddenly, the planned facility’s energy-saving features — and there are many — took a backseat to the drama surrounding the company’s decision to set up shop in an area with cheap, coal-fueled electricity. Not exactly the best way to cultivate a green, eco-savvy image. Facebook has since announced a second data center build in Rutherford County, N.C., a region with an energy mix that’s less dependent on coal.
What will The Green Grid’s new mission look like? The industry will get to witness what the group has in store during its Technical Forum and Members Meeting on March 1-2 in Santa Clara, CA. During the event, it “will provide more detail on how the organization helps data center operators more efficiently use resources such as energy, carbon, and water.”
We’ll be watching.