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Brenda Rian's posts

Nov 12th 2012

AOL Earns Energy Star Certification for Virginia Data Centers

AOL has just earned Energy Star certifications for its Virginia data centers, Dulles and Manassas, the only two data centers in the state with this distinction.

This accomplishment means the buildings perform in the top 25% nationwide for energy efficiency and they meet strict energy efficiency performance levels set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Energy under the Energy Star program.

Commercial buildings that earn EPA's Energy Star certification use an average of 35% less energy than typical buildings and release 35% less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Given the power density requirements specific to data centers, an organization-wide commitment to energy conservation and efficiency is required to successfully earn the Energy Star certification. Earlier this year, AOL also won Uptime Institute awards for data center and IT efficiency.

Here are some reasons that AOL received an Energy Star Certification:

· AOL improved its data floor monitoring and chiller efficiency to better match the required cooling of the data floor with the computer room AC units; this measurement system allowed some of the AC units to be turned off at low-load times
· At the Dulles Tech Center, AOL retrofit the HVAC system with variable frequency drive motors, which resulted in increased energy efficiency
· Across the suite of Dulles campus buildings and technology centers, these cost effective and energy efficient improvements have saved AOL more than $7 million in energy costs

To learn more about AOL's sustainability efforts click here.

Apr 26th 2012

AOLer Jeff Novak Discusses Corporate Sustainability


AOL is committed to conducting its business in ways that minimize its impact on the environment through a variety of initiatives. Recently, AOL participated with the Virginia Corporate Sustainability Roundtable in meeting with Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell yesterday in Richmond, Va., to highlight ways in which government, educational institutions and the private sector can all promote sustainability. AOL's Jeff Novak, of the Public Policy office, represented AOL on the panel. After the roundtable discussion, Governor Bob McDonnell signed the Va. High Performance Buildings Act. Jeff is shown in the photo with the governor, in the back row just to the right of the flag.

The conference was covered by The Richmond Times Dispatch. Click here to read their full coverage of the event.

(AOL's Jeff Novak, in the back row just to the right of the flag, represented AOL at a meeting on sustainability with the Governor of Virginia.)

Apr 3rd 2012

AOL Wins Award for Decommissioning Servers

AOL has notched another award in our data center energy efficiency efforts. We've won the Uptime Institute's first "Server Roundup" contest to decommission old servers. The Uptime Institute, a data center industry think tank and trade association, called for data centers to find and remove duplicated or unused applications, out-of-date, obsolete servers and replace them with more efficient, virtualized hardware.

Given AOL's ongoing efforts to be more efficient in our data centers and AOL's Technology Operations team's ongoing work decommissioning servers, this challenge seemed right up our alley. Mike Manos, SVP of Technology Operations, had the entire Tech Ops team – from systems analyst to database administrators to project management to the data center team – involved in the migration to the internal cloud-computing environment, defining "absurd" server applications and products and identifying "power hog" servers. The team had to root out servers full of ancient data, which entailed touching almost every server and doing a "door-to-door" canvas to discuss the fate of the server with the owners.

After gathering the documentation for the contest application we learned that AOL started January 2011 with 37,016 servers, and decommissioned 9,484 – a 26% turnover, grossing $5.05 million in savings for 2011. The savings encompassed many areas of the company: electric costs for the servers accounted for $1.4 million of our $13 million annual electric bill, sourcing saved $2.2 million in licensing costs and asset management had $1.2 million in sale/recycle/scrap. During this time period we did install 8,376 new, more efficient servers. Net savings, including these new servers, is $4 million – still awesome! Environmental benefits were seen in the reduction of almost 20 tons of carbon emissions!

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