LOCKPORT, N.Y. — Yahoo Inc. picked a cool and breezy spot in upstate New York to build the new data center it opened Monday and put the elements to work to keep it cool.
The long and narrow "chicken coop" design of three server buildings and their placement downwind of Lake Ontario will let California-based Yahoo save on energy costs by using outdoor air, prevailing winds and low-cost hydropower to remove heat.
"It doesn't get that hot in New York so we're always bringing in outside air and re-circulating it," Scott Noteboom, vice president of data center operations, said in advance of the opening in Lockport, 30 miles north of Buffalo.
The "Yahoo Computing Coop" design earned a $9.9 million sustainability grant from the U.S. Department of Energy. An average of less than 1 cent of every dollar spent on electricity will go toward cooling, Yahoo officials said as they formally opened the Niagara County site.
A fourth building in the complex houses an operations center which will monitor the network around the world and a customer care center to field calls, said Yahoo executives, who see the efficiency-driven, multifunction project as the future of Internet data centers.
"The data center really does have to transition from being this niche facility into a real efficient factory, just like any other manufacturing facility," Noteboom said. "We're manufacturing bits versus other industries that may manufacture cars or electricity."
Overall, the center uses at least 40 percent less energy and 95 percent less water than conventional data centers, Yahoo said.
The 155,000-square-foot center will employ 100 people at first, with the potential for expansion and more hires later, the company said.
Based in Sunnyvale, Calif., Yahoo has been expanding its number of data centers around the country.