Green

On the GreenBeat: Wal-Mart turns to First Solar and MiaSolé, Yahoo creates green data center

Yahoo unveiled its new energy-efficient data center in Lockport, New York today. The company’s green data center design uses the cool air from outside the building to chill servers and was built in part with a government grant of $9.9 million. Its design takes inspiration from the long, narrow build of chicken coops that allows cool winds to enter the building. The company says this data center will use 40 percent less energy and 95 percent less water than conventional data centers.

Wal-Mart has turned to thin-film solar to green its stores — the company will install panels from First Solar and MiaSolé at 20 to 30 locations in California and Arizona. The solar projects are expected to provide 20 to 30 percent of energy use for each location. “By leveraging our global scale to become a more efficient company, we are able to lower our expenses and help develop markets for new technologies,” said Kim Saylors Laster, Wal-Mart vice president of energy in a company statement. The panels will be installed and maintained by SolarCity.

DuPont and Honeywell have formed a joint venture to produce a new, more environmentally friendly coolant that is being required by the European Union. The current, most common coolant -– HFC-134a -– is considered a high-potential global warming gas, and will be banned by the European Union starting next year. The transition to the new refrigerant is expected to complete in 2017. DuPont and Honeywell will develop the product together but will sell and market it separately. On American shores, General Motors said last week its cars will use the new coolant starting with its 2013 models.

Data center optimization software company Power Assure has received $1.5 million from the venture capital branch of ABB, a global power and automation player. It brings Power Assure’s total funds raised to $20.25 million. The company says it will use the additional cash to expand Power Assure’s sales and aid the commercialization of its data center optimization solutions, which are currently in production at large enterprise and government data centers.

The Department of Energy has given $20 million to geothermal projects in the U.S. The funds are an addition to the $338 million in Recovery Act awards last year. Beneficiaries include NRG Energy of New Jersey, which will use the $5 million for a geopressured geothermal resource that could be developed for a power plant.