Yahoo Inc. has just opened a new data center in Lockport, New York. It is the company’s first use of a new environmentally friendly design that relies in large part on western New York’s cooler climate. It makes use of the prevailing winds from Lake Ontario and low-cost hydropower from the New York Power Authority to keep the 120-foot by 60-foot server buildings cool. That significantly reduces its electricity use, so that its power usage rating is nearly half that of the industry average.
According to the EPA, data centers across the U.S. account for about 1.5% of our country’s electricity usage. The Lockport facility uses about 40% less energy and at least 95% less water than its competitors. It promises to be one of the most energy efficient structures of its kind.
Yahoo paid $450,000 to buy 30 acres of land from the Lockport Industrial Development Agency. The data center covers 155,000 square feet, and will also support a Yahoo Operations Center and a Global Service Staff.
Called by its employees the Yahoo! Chicken Coop, the long, narrow design mimics a chicken coop, encouraging natural air flow so that less than 1 percent of the buildings’ energy consumption is needed to cool the facility.
In recognition, the company received a $9.9 million sustainability grant from the U.S. Department of Energy, which is the largest award provided under the Green IT grant program. The project was also granted 15 megawatts of low-cost power by NYPA as one of the inducements to lure the project to Western New York.
Yahoo! will employ 100 to 125 full-time employees. Most jobs will involve advanced computer skills and some forms of engineering and will pay $65,000 to $75,000 a year. Yahoo! also supported up to 500 jobs throughout the construction process of the facility.
Lockport is offering a Payment in Lieu of Taxes incentive that would include a 20-year tax break. Yahoo will pay no property taxes for the first 10 years, then pay 20 percent more every two years after that. The deal will also include a sales tax exemption on all equipment purchases, an incentive which has been adopted by a number of states hoping to lure data centers.
Yahoo! is one of the first companies to establish a world-class data center in western New York and to take advantage of the area’s climate, clean hydropower, and qualified workforce. The region is becoming established as a technology center of excellence, and Yahoo! is helping that cause.
The Lockport facility will power the network of Yahoo! sites, including Yahoo! Mail, Messenger, Flickr, News, Sports, Finance, Answers.
We are happy to welcome Yahoo! to the western New York region.