Grainger Announces the World’s First Data Center Certified by New LEED Standards


Grainger recently announced that its new data center in Lake Forest, Illinois, is certified as the world’s first LEED facility of this type.

The data center features an advanced cooling system to help realize significant energy savings. The energy used for cooling the facility is controlled by strictly managing the air flow, using outside air to cool the facility. As a result, Grainger expects the new data center to consume up to 50 percent less energy for cooling than similar data centers.

“Our goal is always to build the most sustainable facility possible,” said Gail Edgar, vice president of Grainger Real Estate and Facilities Services. “One of the most important components of the project was to realize significant energy savings by maintaining a low Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE), which measures the energy used beyond the IT load.”

Data centers usually run nonstop, which means these facilities can consume up to 200 times more electricity than typical office spaces. Most of this energy is used to cool the building as temperatures from IT equipment housed in a data center can reach more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit. This Grainger data center’s air cooling design is anticipated to have a best-in-class PUE rating of 1.2 at full capacity; the industry average is 2.0.

Throughout planning and construction, Grainger’s project team partnered with the U.S. Green Building Council to provide feedback about the new v4 BD+C standards, which were finalized more than seven months after the project broke ground. The team worked quickly to incorporate the new standards into the certification process.

“The Grainger team has not only created a space that mitigates greenhouse gas emissions and saves money through reduced energy and water use, but with the first LEED v4 BD+C project, they are also playing an essential role in driving the market toward healthier, better buildings for all,” said Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO and founding chairman of the U.S. Green Building Council.

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