Technology Review has an article on how "Custom datacenters can help lower energy consumption" (something that is needed given the rapid growth in power consumption by large scale hosting facilities) - Greener Computing in the Cloud.
The issue of surging worldwide IT-related energy consumption is both a bottom-line concern to the companies involved and, increasingly, an environmental worry. Energy consumption from data centers doubled between 2000 and 2005--from 0.5 percent to 1 percent of world total electricity consumption. That figure, which currently stands at around 1.5 percent, is expected to rise further. According to a study published in 2008 by the Uptime Institute, a datacenter consultancy based in Santa Fe, NM, it could quadruple by 2020. ...
Cloud-computing companies hope to offer a solution by focusing on energy efficiency within massive data centers.
Yahoo, for example, broke ground on a data center near Buffalo, NY, last month that will use as little as one-quarter the electricity of older data centers, says Scott Noteboom, senior director of data center engineering at the company. Once finished, the servers inside this data center will be more efficient from a computational standpoint--using less power when they are performing fewer computations--and the building itself will mainly exploit natural air flows to keep hot servers cool. On days above 27° C, managers will switch on air conditioning, which in this case employs evaporative cooling, that should only need to be used 212 hours per year.