or Connect
AppleInsider › Forums › General › General Discussion › Greenpeace 'dirty data' report criticizes Apple's NC data center
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Greenpeace 'dirty data' report criticizes Apple's NC data center

post #1 of 91
Thread Starter 
A recent report by environmental watchdog Greenpeace on energy practices in cloud computing called out Apple for relying on "dirty" energy for its $1 billion data center in Maiden, NC.

In a report titled "How dirty is your data?", Greenpeace rated Apple as having the lowest Clean Energy Index and the highest Coal Intensity among tech giants such as Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Amazon. Apple also received a 'C' for Transparency, an 'F' for instrastructure Siting and a 'C' for Mitigation Strategy on the environmental group's "Clean Cloud Power Report Card."

Apple, along with Facebook and Google, was criticized for contributing to a "dirty data triangle" in North Carolina, where substantial tax incentives from the state have attracted billions of dollars in data center investments from tech companies.

"Apples decision to locate its iDataCenter in North Carolina, which has an electrical grid among the dirtiest in the country (61% coal, 31% nuclear45), indicates a lack of a corporate commitment to clean energy supply for its cloud operations," the report said.

Greenpeace estimates that Apple's $1 billion, 500,000 square-foot facility will require 100MW of electricity at full capacity, which could as much as triple the company's energy usage. Reports have also suggested that Apple plans to double the size of the facility to a massive one million square feet.



Apple's data center in Maiden, N.C. was scheduled to begin operations by the end of last year, but has been met with unspecified delays. In February, the company revealed that the server farm will be used for iTunes and MobileMe when it opens this spring.

Reports emerged on Thursday that Apple has completed work on a cloud-based iTunes music streaming service that will allow users to store their music collections via Internet-connected devices.



Last year, Greenpeace rated Apple the greenest electronics maker. In years past, Apple had been taken to task by the group for its lack of transparency and use of toxic chemicals.

For instance, in 2006, Greenpeace gave Apple a 2.7 out of 10 environmental-friendly rating, with low marks for recycling and its take-back programs.

Greenpeace then launched a "Green my Apple" campaign at the Mac Expo in London, though the group was forced to close its booth after a dispute with the show's organizers.

In 2007, the environmental advocacy group organized a publicity stunt that consisted of shining green spotlights on the 32-foot glass cube at Apple's flagship on Fifth Avenue in New York City.

Greenpeace activists demonstrate with "green" light at the 5th Avenue Apple store in Manhattan.

Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs eventually capitulated in May 2007 by releasing a timetable for Apple's efforts to improve its environmental track record.

"Apple has been criticized by some environmental organizations for not being a leader in removing toxic chemicals from its new products, and for not aggressively or properly recycling its old products," said Jobs. "Upon investigating Apples current practices and progress towards these goals, I was surprised to learn that in many cases Apple is ahead of, or will soon be ahead of, most of its competitors in these areas."

As evidenced by last year's rating from Greenpeace the company's new policy has largely been successful. Apple announced that the percentage of total weight recycled as compared to the weight of sales 7 years prior was 66.4 percent in 2009, easily surpassing its goal of 24 percent.

In its most recent report, however, even as Greenpeace praised Apple for becoming "increasingly transparent about the environmental footprint and operational performance of its products," the group took Apple to task for not being as forthcoming about its data center and future plans for the cloud.
post #2 of 91
GreanPeace, I hope Apple doesn't tell you squat about anything they do. You just made trouble at MacExpo and got kicked out..AWESOME!

How did you like them Apples??
post #3 of 91
so do you want wind power to power up the data center? or solar power? or nuclear? Come on.
post #4 of 91
Apple should release a special edition 24 core anti-green Mac Pro which uses way more energy than the current one and this in turn would also boost the performance to ridiculous and previously unheard of levels. The whole "Green" fad will soon fade away hopefully. Let's get back to raw power. The anti-green Mac would come with a special Meat themed OS and all web sites would now be rendered using the brand new chicken legs font. Folders would look like meatballs and there would be a built in ashtray made from liquid metal conveniently located on top of the Mac Pro. This would guarantee that no Greenpeace types would ever buy that Mac. I would want one and I would display it prominently on my desk to make sure that all Greenpeace types, liberals and morons in general would keep their distance.
post #5 of 91
They built near a power gird and trunk line. Sounds like an efficient plan to me. Isn’t that part of the country filled with coal mines? It wouldn’t be viable to bypass all local power to get power from some hydroelectric plant
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
Reply
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
Reply
post #6 of 91
Lawd-have-mercy! Them Apple folk done gone gotten thar Datacenter thingy all kinds a dirty! Mercy-sakes. Thanks heavens them sweet lil Greenpeace folk was keepin' an eye on the floormats! Funny how so few other companies get the kind of scrutiny that they love to give those darn Apple people! You don't see them Greenpeace folk thumpin' the drum on Samsung, or HTC or Foxconn, or HP or Google - well cuz they just don't grab you by the lapels like a steamin' hot article of indignation about Apple. No sir! Well and the fact that most of their highest contributors are here in the US doesn't hurt either.

So when them nice Greenpeace folk come a-knockin' on your door, be sure to give them something nice for all their efforts! It's hard work drummin' up them dollars if they don't burn Apple in effigy when they need to raise funds!
If you are going to insist on being an ass, at least demonstrate the intelligence to be a smart one
Reply
If you are going to insist on being an ass, at least demonstrate the intelligence to be a smart one
Reply
post #7 of 91
Every time earnings rolls around so do the usual attention whores...

Greenpeace- check!

still waiting on Consumer Reports...
post #8 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

They built near a power gird and trunk line. Sounds like an efficient plan to me. Isnt that part of the country filled with coal mines? It wouldnt be viable to bypass all local power to get power from some hydroelectric plant

I think the point is Greenpeace would have preferred Apple located the datacenter somewhere else where there is hydroelectric or other green energy rather than in a part of the country filled with coal mines.

Apparently Iceland is a really good place for data centers as it is close to both Europe and the US, has clean/cheap geothermal energy and the climate is cold which cuts down on the cooling bill.
post #9 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by Orlando View Post


Apparently Iceland is a really good place for data centers as it is close to both Europe and the US, has clean/cheap geothermal energy and the climate is cold which cuts down on the cooling bill.


There's quite some distance between iceland and the US... it wouldn't be feasible for the type of services they presumably plan to serve. That is why they are building DCs in more than one location so they can serve various regions based on proximity.


As an aside- I think that's where wikileaks moved to tho!
post #10 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by Orlando View Post

I think the point is Greenpeace would have preferred Apple located the datacenter somewhere else where there is hydroelectric or other green energy rather than in a part of the country filled with coal mines.

Shh! No one tel Greenpeace about Apples production in China.

Quote:
Apparently Iceland is a really good place for data centers as it is close to both Europe and the US, has clean/cheap geothermal energy and the climate is cold which cuts down on the cooling bill.

Interesting.
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
Reply
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
Reply
post #11 of 91
So I suppose the answer is that we should be driving ourselves (in our polluting cars) down to our local record store (a heated/cooled waste of space when you can do it electronically), and buy CD's (CD's and jewel cases manufactured out of petroleum products and shipped from manufacturer to distributor to retail store) -- or better yet, how about some nice, big vinyl LP's? No toxins in LP's, I'm sure. And the discs will all eventually end up in landfills.

Or, we could have one huge data center.

And it also helps the environment that devices need less flash memory to store data locally.


BTW, what were these Greenpeace folks typing their reviews on? Where did the power come from? And on what data centers are their webpages and emails stored?
post #12 of 91
i'd like to know how greenpeace delivered their complaint. if it wasn't on stone tablets, then they're just a bunch of hypocrites.
post #13 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by magicj View Post

I was a card carrying member of GreenPeace in my younger days. Thanks goodness I smartened up a bit. Not enough to prevent me for voting for Obama in 2008, but that's another mistake I won't make again.

I really is true, you never stop learning. I just hope that someday very soon I'm smart enough not to get taken by complete con artists.

I hope you learned by now not to vote for the con artist again.
You talkin' to me?
Reply
You talkin' to me?
Reply
post #14 of 91
1) I don't view nuclear as dirty. Even Fukushima hasn't killed anyone or really damaged the environment. There may be other arguments against nuclear, but environmentalism is, in my mind, an argument *for* nuclear power.

2)Locating places with low transmission loss automatically increases efficiency.

3)Places Greenpeace would have rated higher would almost certainly have been worse in terms of network efficiency, increasing the power spent performing additional switching and managing traffic.

There are probably better places that Apple could have built their data center, but not *much* better. Greenpeace just has their thing about nuclear power and so marked them down on that.
post #15 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by magicj View Post

The Republicans could put a dead pig's brain in a jar and run it as their candidate in 2012 and I would vote for it.

Assuming the pig was born in America!

Good for you.


Soooo, I guess that's one vote for Trump?
You talkin' to me?
Reply
You talkin' to me?
Reply
post #16 of 91
North Carolina is a "Right To Work" State. The unions are going after Boeing for they're plant in N.C. and now this. The current administrations two favorite special interest groups. Is there a link between Green Peaces effort and the Boeing lawsuits?
post #17 of 91
Greenpeace has no credibility. When I was young and stupid I gave them $5 once. They spent $50 sending me followup letters (on bleached and glossy paper no less) begging for more money.

They are always issuing reports, and only because they've engaged in terrorism does anyone report about them. (remember back when ramming a ships wasn't considered terrorism?)

Apple and Facebook both have opened modern, more efficient datacenters. But greenpeace is a lot like many environmentalist groups-- more interested in politics than the environment. Most environmental legislation ultimately is bad for the environment because they never consider the consequences of banning one thing or another.

For instance, incandescents are no banned, meaning we'll be using must more toxic fluorescents going forward.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dickprinter View Post

Soooo, I guess that's one vote for Trump?

Trump gives business people a bad name. He's an insider who has dealt in political pull since the beginning -- rather than a entrepreneur who is innovative.

I hate him. I think he is a reprehensible human being.

That said, he's still an order of magnitude less evil than obama.
post #18 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by frugality View Post

So I suppose the answer is that we should be driving ourselves (in our polluting cars) down to our local record store (a heated/cooled waste of space when you can do it electronically), and buy CD's (CD's and jewel cases manufactured out of petroleum products and shipped from manufacturer to distributor to retail store) -- or better yet, how about some nice, big vinyl LP's? No toxins in LP's, I'm sure. And the discs will all eventually end up in landfills.

Or, we could have one huge data center.

And it also helps the environment that devices need less flash memory to store data locally.


BTW, what were these Greenpeace folks typing their reviews on? Where did the power come from? And on what data centers are their webpages and emails stored?

Sure, but wouldn't you prefer these datacenters be located where they make use of greener energy sources and therefore put Apple at the top of the list of "how clean is your data center" rather than at the bottom?
post #19 of 91
What is Green Peaces stance on the mercury in the Federally mandated Compact Fluoresce Light bulbs?
post #20 of 91
Data centers use an awful lot of power and any steps taken to minimize electricity consumption is surely a good thing. Clearly everybody here feels that GP is the devil incarnate but be that as it may, does anybody know what if anything Apple has done to minimize the reliance on fossil fuels, now that somebody has brought it up.
post #21 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jessi View Post

They are always issuing reports, and only because they've engaged in terrorism does anyone report about them. (remember back when ramming a ships wasn't considered terrorism?)


Quote:
Trump gives business people a bad name. He's an insider who has dealt in political pull since the beginning -- rather than a entrepreneur who is innovative.

I hate him. I think he is a reprehensible human being.

That said, he's still an order of magnitude less evil than obama.

Holy shit! I'm in fruit cake land!
post #22 of 91
Apple could just build a few wind turbines, take the power when there is wind and feed from the public system when needed. Its not hard.
post #23 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by Orlando View Post

I think the point is Greenpeace would have preferred Apple located the datacenter somewhere else where there is hydroelectric or other green energy...
..Apparently Iceland is a really good place for data centers as it is close to both Europe and the US, has clean/cheap geothermal energy and the climate is cold which cuts down on the cooling bill.

And then some other group would get mad because they'd be taking good-paying jobs outside the country.

I wonder what quality of paper Greenpeace released its report on.
post #24 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by frugality View Post

So I suppose the answer is that we should be driving ourselves (in our polluting cars) down to our local record store (a heated/cooled waste of space when you can do it electronically), and buy CD's (CD's and jewel cases manufactured out of petroleum products and shipped from manufacturer to distributor to retail store) -- or better yet, how about some nice, big vinyl LP's? No toxins in LP's, I'm sure. And the discs will all eventually end up in landfills.

Or, we could have one huge data center.

And it also helps the environment that devices need less flash memory to store data locally.


BTW, what were these Greenpeace folks typing their reviews on? Where did the power come from? And on what data centers are their webpages and emails stored?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Orlando View Post

Sure, but wouldn't you prefer these datacenters be located where they make use of greener energy sources and therefore put Apple at the top of the list of "how clean is your data center" rather than at the bottom?

But when is enough, enough? Is it not enough that the ITS and the data center virtually eliminate all the toxic waste and energy that frugality mentions, plus created jobs through constructing the building, plus jobs to run the facility, thereby creating an ongoing economy in that area. Do we have to satisfy every item on a perfect wish list? It sounds like you are suggesting that Apple should lay out more money (assuming it would have cost more to locate near green energy) and increase their overhead (with higher property taxes) in the interest of being green.

How often to you voluntarily choose a more costly product or service in the interest of being green?
You talkin' to me?
Reply
You talkin' to me?
Reply
post #25 of 91
Before taking on the tech companies Greenpeace should start with companies in foreign countries that have almost zero 'Green' guidelines in place.
post #26 of 91
Quote:
For instance, incandescents are no banned, meaning we'll be using must more toxic fluorescents going forward.

Quote:
What is Green Peaces stance on the mercury in the Federally mandated Compact Fluoresce Light bulbs?

The vast majority of the country gets its power from coal-fired power plants. The use of CFLs saves on mercury emissions when compared to the use of incandescent bulbs. It also saves you around $40 per bulb vs. incandescents.

For more information:

Quote:
In July 2008 the U.S. EPA published a data sheet stating that the net system emission of mercury for CFL lighting was lower than for incandescent lighting of comparable lumen output. This was based on the average rate of mercury emission for U.S. electricity production and average estimated escape of mercury from a CFL put into a landfill. Coal-fired plants also emit other heavy metals, sulphur, and carbon dioxide.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compact...ercury_content

In response to the article, Apple will probably go where the tax incentives are greatest and the energy costs are cheapest. But it doesn't mean they should. This could have been a perfect way for Apple to show leadership in the tech industry on reducing the impact of big data centers. Google is currently the leader in this area.

I agree with the sentiment that criticizing without providing a valid alternative can be ineffective, futile, and in poor taste. At the same time, it's beneficial to at least put some pressure on Apple to do the right thing next time.
post #27 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dickprinter View Post

How often to you voluntarily choose a more costly product or service in the interest of being green?

In case you were wondering, many people do this everyday. A good portion of this country actually cares about our current problems and future generations. But yes, go ahead and stick your nose up at anything related to "green." Those in the middle east will love you for it.

Of all the problems and causes to hate, I will never understand how people demonize the environmental movement.
post #28 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by magicj View Post

Complete frickin poppy cock, as changing bulbs doesn't change the amount of coal being burned.

Also ignores the fact that scrubbers at coal plants can remove 90% of the mercury at the source rather than scattering it around in landfills all over the country. GAO report: http://www.upi.com/Top_News/2009/10/...8041255030928/

Also ignores the fact that ~50% of America's electric isn't generated from coal.

One bulb won't change a power plant's output, but as soon as a small portion of the population starts using them, the amount of energy needed decreases. CFLs use 25% of the energy of incandescents.

Yes, about 50 percent of the electricity produced in the U.S. is generated by coal-fired power plants. The EPA obviously factored that in when doing the study. In 2006, coal-fired power plants produced 1,971 billion kilowatt hours (kwh) of electricity, emitting 50.7 tons of mercury into the airthe equivalent amount of mercury contained in more than 9 billion CFLs (the bulbs emit zero mercury when in use or being handled).

Approximately 0.0234 mg of mercuryplus carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxidereleases into the air per 1 kwh of electricity that a coal-fired power plant generates. Over the 7500-hour average range of one CFL, then, a plant will emit 13.16 mg of mercury to sustain a 75-watt incandescent bulb but only 3.51 mg of mercury to sustain a 20-watt CFL (the lightning equivalent of a 75-watt traditional bulb). Even if the mercury contained in a CFL was directly released into the atmosphere, an incandescent would still contribute 4.65 more milligrams of mercury into the environment over its lifetime.

Also, you do realize an article citing a reduction of 90% means nothing, right? You don't provide units. The remaining mercury emissions are still greater than what is contained in a CFL.
post #29 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by magicj View Post

Mostly because of their poor reasoning abilities, their tendency to use statistics without an understanding of the context, and their complete lack of understanding of the incredible damage their movement is doing to both the economy _and_ the environment.

[citation needed]
post #30 of 91
Uh-oh. The door was opened a crack for everyone to thump their particular political drum. Irresistible isn't it? Having read the entire thread up to here, I come away not a whit more enlightened than when I started.
A.k.a. AppleHead on other forums.
Reply
A.k.a. AppleHead on other forums.
Reply
post #31 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by magicj View Post

Name 1 coal plant anywhere in the world that has reduced the amount of coal it burns because of people switching to CFLs.

And no, the EPA didn't factor in that 50% of America's energy doesn't come from coal. Read their documentation. It's available on the EPA web site.

Energy demand has decreased across the US from the recession, so it's hard to tell how much of an effect CFLs have had so far. But even if the link hadn't yet occurred, that's no justification for not using CFLs. In fact, that's justification for the federal mandate. Obviously, widespread use of CFLs will reduce energy demand and reduce the output of coal plants. Not a hard concept to grasp. Not to mention the benefits to a reduction in carbon dioxide and many, many other pollutants.

I will actually humor you and assume the EPA didn't factor that in. 13.61mg / 2 = 6.58mg emitted by the average incandescent. 3.51mg / 2 = 1.755mg for the CFL they cite (though most are lower wattage). Most CFLs have around 3mg of mercury, with some as low as 1mg. Basic math reveals CFLs still have a lower net mercury output.

Better luck next time.
post #32 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by magicj View Post

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d24b56MmIts

Includes references at the end of the video. Would suggest you read those references as well. They're all from "green" sources.

If your best example is a YouTube video of dubious nature, I think you may need to rethink your position.

Regarding biofuels, you won't find a single educated environmentalist who believes palm oil (or using corn for ethanol) is "green." The environmental movement didn't cause the palm oil issue, a country trying to make money from one of its commodity crops caused it (this applies to the Bush-era corn ethanol policy as well).
post #33 of 91
So the big news here is that Apple located their big new power using site in a location that is 31% supplied by nuclear energy? That's pretty cool - I think I'll buy more stuff from iTunes to support their choice of data center location.
Good job Apple & thanks Greenpeace for passing on the info that Apple is making good choices about energy usage.
post #34 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by Planet Blue View Post

In case you were wondering, many people do this everyday. A good portion of this country actually cares about our current problems and future generations. But yes, go ahead and stick your nose up at anything related to "green." Those in the middle east will love you for it.

Of all the problems and causes to hate, I will never understand how people demonize the environmental movement.


I wasn't wondering, I make conscious green choices everyday, also. My point is, sometimes it doesn't make a lot of economic sense to make green a priority above all else.
You talkin' to me?
Reply
You talkin' to me?
Reply
post #35 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by magicj View Post

Harder to grasp (for environmentalists) is it has nothing to do with reality. CFLs are mandatory in several countries. No where did it lead to less coal being burned.

You do realize there are other factors to energy demand beyond lighting, right?

Quote:
When you have no facts to back you up, I suppose shooting the messenger is the best you can do. The video is simply a presentation of information from the U.N., the New York Times, animal rights groups, and so on. Again, look up the references for yourself.

So why not present the sources themselves? The video didn't cite what information came from where.

And what facts do you have to back yourself up? I have presented many facts, including completely debunking your assertion that CFLs result in more mercury than incandescents. You seem to be the one full of hyperbole.

Quote:
And please, bio-fuels where a huge part of the green movement. Yes, that's changing now because people can see for themselves the damage caused by them. That doesn't change the fact that the green movement championed them and their use lead to environmental disaster.

Biofuels is a general term. Biofuels from switchgrass, used cooking oil, or algae are fine. Biofuels from corn or palm oil are not. Again, the environmental movement rarely pushed for corn-based ethanol, conservatives and the farm lobby did.

In addition, trying to discredit an entire cause with an isolated example is a weak argument.

And really, I think the environmental damage done by "green hating" groups (for lack of a better term) such as oil companies is far greater than anything you have presented. I believe there was an incident in the Gulf of Mexico a year ago. And policies of de-regulation to increase pollution and CO2 obviously don't help things either.

Quote:
Edit:
But at least we can agree they are a disaster, and that's the key part.

Yes. Poor public policy at its finest.
post #36 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dickprinter View Post

I wasn't wondering, I make conscious green choices everyday, also. My point is, sometimes it doesn't make a lot of economic sense to make green a priority above all else.

I completely agree with you. It's a fine balance many companies have to make. In this case, especially considering how much revenue Apple generates, they probably could have made it a slightly higher priority and come away fine.
post #37 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dickprinter View Post

I wasn't wondering, I make conscious green choices everyday, also.

Me too. Tonights green choice was to not get the steamed broccoli but instead that loaded baked potato with dinner.
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
Reply
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
Reply
post #38 of 91
Apple also got a 'C' for kicking a puppy. That made PeTA mad.

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
Reply

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
Reply
post #39 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

Apple also got a 'C' for kicking a puppy. That made PeTA mad.

I think Steve Jobs volunteers at an abortion clinic on weekends.
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
Reply
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
Reply
post #40 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dickprinter View Post

I wasn't wondering, I make conscious green choices everyday, also. My point is, sometimes it doesn't make a lot of economic sense to make green a priority above all else.

Right. Let's wait until five minutes before the Earth becomes uninhabitable.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: General Discussion
AppleInsider › Forums › General › General Discussion › Greenpeace 'dirty data' report criticizes Apple's NC data center