GM to Turn Spare Place into Efficient IT Space

Jun 10, 2011 3:00 PM ET

GM to Turn Spare Place into Efficient IT Space

Earlier this week, GM announced the renovation of a former administrative building into an environmentally friendly data center at our tech center in Warren, Mich. This Information Technology Operations and Command Center will consolidate GM’s IT infrastructure, reducing operating costs and cutting energy use by about 40 percent.

To align with our mission to reduce the carbon footprint of our facilities, we’re designing this building with the environment in mind and hope to achieve LEED Gold certification.
Data centers are notorious for their energy consumption, so we’re focusing on updates that will deliver greater efficiency.  Among other plans like creating additional green space where there’s currently concrete, we’re focusing on the following:

•    In-Row Cooling:  Installing a cooling system for our servers that’ll provide 60 percent more efficiency than traditional systems. Instead of pushing cool air from the floor, these new systems are placed between racks, containing the heat in the aisle. Less air is moved, translating to decreased horsepower and electrical consumption.
•    415 Volts: Eliminating the use of energy-draining transformers by switching to the international voltage of 415. Transformers generate heat and significant energy is lost during the conversion process.

•    Diesel-Rotary UPS: Switching from a space-hogging, battery-based Uninterruptible Power Supply to one powered by fly wheels and a diesel engine. This enables us to take out heating and cooling systems required to keep those batteries at their optimal 78 degree temperature.
To help us find the best ways to reduce impact, we formed a team and toured some of the best data centers owned by major high-tech and electrical companies. We asked them how they achieved their energy savings and talked to vendors to learn about our options.

Hopefully when this facility is completed in 2013, it will join other sustainable GM buildings like our LEED-Gold certified Lansing Delta Township plant--the only automotive assembly plant in the world with LEED status.