The Intern Diary: Reporting from Yahoo! on the World Wide Web of Green

by Aman Singh Das | July 23, 2010

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What do you get as a gift for theperson who has everything? Though most of us won't have to face this dilemmauntil the holidays, I find that being an EDF Climate Corps Fellow at Yahoo similarlystretches my creative limits because I'm being asked to uncover energyefficiency opportunities at an already very green company.

The EDFClimate Corps Internship connects MBA students with companies on want to focuson becoming more sustainable in their operations by focusing on energyefficiency solutions. Megan Rast is part of their 2010 class

Whether it's drawing inspirationfrom chicken coops to build data centers, using goats instead of lawn mowers, or pioneering an'open-source' model of sharing environmental hi-tech practices, Yahoo has animpressive record of thought leadership in the intersection of IT and green.Along with several other EDF Climate Corps Fellows in Silicon Valley, I amtasked to look far outside of the box to find energy efficiency improvementsfor my host company. With the majority of the 'low-hanging' fruit already picked,my position requires me to search through all of Yahoo's world-wide operationsfor efficiency improvements.

My main project work so far has beento evaluate current power consumption metrics of Yahoo's domestic andinternational data centers, both for determining the company's current carbonfootprint as well as scouting prospective sites for new centers. Such a jobrequires:

--Researchingcountries where Yahoo could possibly build data centers that userenewable energy, and considering both the pros and cons of each option,including cost of electricity, incentive programs and tax implications.

--Evaluatingthe expected Power Usage Efficiency of a data center in each location, whichcan often bring unexpected results. For example, India is a well-known hot spotfor tech companies to source IT operations due to its low-cost labor and highlyeducated talent pool. However, a data center in India is likely to use powerabout as half as efficiently as one in the U.S., if not more, due to the hotand humid climate, among other issues.

--Assessingall of the factors that Yahoo must consider (and balance) whenbuilding a data center—not just energy efficiency, but also data transferspeed, bandwidth, and physical server capacity.

I'm also now working on a projectwith a different global track: studying the Japanese Variable Refrigerant Flow(VRF), an air conditioning model that is popular in Asia and Europe, and my jobis to see whether certain components at Yahoo's Sunnyvale, CA headquarters canbe retro-fitted with this technology. Since these systems are designed to beinstalled using tiny piping that requires little additional drilling (a 550 year-old hotel in France was able to retrofit),I hope to reduce the HVAC Load in Yahoo's Headquarters by 20% - which couldresult in dramatic savings.

Having long had an interest inglobal strategy and operations, my work has really allowed me to pursue thosefunctional interests while also building on my experience in the energy andhigh-tech verticals. With companies needing to implement energy efficiency on aglobal scale, I hope that my findings at Yahoo can have a similar internationalreach.

--ByJim Wilson, 2010 EDF Climate CorpsFellow at Yahoo!, MBA Candidate at FuquaSchool of Business, Duke University, Member of NetImpact

This post is part of a series of blogsthat InGood Company is hosting this summer in collaboration with EDF, featuring fellows from their 2010 Climate Corpsclass, as they journey through their internships. With their posts, theseinterns will give us a rare lens into the behind-the-scenes operations atcompanies who are proactively discussing corporate sustainability, oneconversation at a time.

Filed Under: CSR

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