Thursday, January 19, 2012

Keeping our environmental management and workplace safety standards high

For the last year, our data center team has been working on a project to bring our facilities to even higher standards for environmental management and workforce safety. Recently we got the good news that our work paid off.

All of our U.S. owned and operated data centers have received ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 certification. We’re the first major Internet services company to gain external certification for those high standards at all of our U.S. data centers.



In a nutshell, both standards are built around a very simple concept: Say what you’re going to do, then do what you say—and then keep improving. The standards say what key elements are required, but not how to do it—that part’s up to us. So we set some challenging goals for ourselves, and we asked our auditors to confirm that we’ve followed through on them.

Here’s an example of the kind of improvements we’ve implemented: Like most data centers, ours have emergency backup generators on hand to keep things up and running in case of a power outage. To reduce the environmental impact of these generators, we’ve done two things: first, we minimized the amount of run time and need for maintenance of those generators. Second, we worked with the oil and generator manufacturers to extend the lifetime between oil changes. So far we’ve managed to reduce our oil consumption in those generators by 67 percent.

A second example: each of our servers in the data center has a battery on board to eliminate any interruptions to our power supply. To ensure the safety of the environment and our workers, we devised a system to make sure we handle, package, ship and recycle every single battery properly.

These are just two elements of what ultimately adds up to a comprehensive system of policies that our data center teams follow in their day-to-day operations. We do this because we want to be the gold standard in environmental and workforce safety, and because we care about the communities where we live and work. This is one more reason you can feel confident that when you're using our products, you're making an environmentally responsible choice.

Our data centers in the following U.S. locations have received this dual certification. We plan to pursue certification in our European data centers as well.
  • The Dalles, Ore.
  • Council Bluffs, Iowa
  • Mayes County, Okla.
  • Lenoir, N.C.
  • Monck’s Corner, S.C.
  • Douglas County, Ga.