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

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
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.



"Apple?s 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 Apple?s 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.
«13456

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 102
    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??
  • Reply 2 of 102
    kenwkkenwk Posts: 25member
    so do you want wind power to power up the data center? or solar power? or nuclear? Come on.
  • Reply 3 of 102
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,428member
    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.
  • Reply 4 of 102
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    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
  • Reply 5 of 102
    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!
  • Reply 6 of 102
    macrrmacrr Posts: 488member
    Every time earnings rolls around so do the usual attention whores...



    Greenpeace- check!



    still waiting on Consumer Reports...
  • Reply 7 of 102
    orlandoorlando Posts: 601member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


    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



    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.
  • Reply 8 of 102
    magicjmagicj Posts: 406member
    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.
  • Reply 9 of 102
    macrrmacrr Posts: 488member
    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!
  • Reply 10 of 102
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    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 Apple?s 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.
  • Reply 11 of 102
    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?
  • Reply 12 of 102
    mac_dogmac_dog Posts: 669member
    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.
  • Reply 13 of 102
    dickprinterdickprinter Posts: 1,060member
    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.
  • Reply 14 of 102
    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.
  • Reply 15 of 102
    magicjmagicj Posts: 406member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dickprinter View Post


    I hope you learned by now not to vote for the con artist again.



    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!
  • Reply 16 of 102
    dickprinterdickprinter Posts: 1,060member
    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?
  • Reply 17 of 102
    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?
  • Reply 18 of 102
    magicjmagicj Posts: 406member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dickprinter View Post


    Good for you.





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



    Unfortunately, it's a vote _against_ Obama. Just as my vote for Obama was _against_ McCain continuing the Bush policies. I never in my wildest dreams imagined Obama would be even worse than Bush.



    Maybe one day before I die I'll be able to vote _for_ someone. But 2012 isn't it.
  • Reply 19 of 102
    jessijessi Posts: 302member
    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.
  • Reply 20 of 102
    orlandoorlando Posts: 601member
    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?
Sign In or Register to comment.