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NEW YORK CITY-Corporate interests, architects, data center planners and regional leaders are coming together to address increasing demand for green data centers according to a group of experts who gathered this past Thursday night at the American Institute of Architects’ Center for Architecture in New York.

The roundtable event was co-sponsored by the group Wall Street West, a federal and state funded initiative to develop a back-up solution for companies in financial services, and the US Green Building Council’s New York Chapter. Architect Pat Sapinsley of GOOD Energies and a LEED AP moderated the event.

The heat-producing palaces of computer technology and crucial backup information use around 2% of the entire planet’s electricity, according to most estimates. Further, the US Department of Energy says that data centers are creating a serious burden on the US electric grid. According to a 2006 study from the Uptime Institute, by 2010, the estimated cost of the electricity used to cool and maintain energy supplies at data centers will be around $11.5 billion.

Using banking giant Citigroup’s example, the Thursday panel addressed new trends in improving the development of green data centers. It also stressed why going green had become even more paramount in the current volatile economy.

Back in 2007, Citigroup announced plans to commit $50 billion to environmental projects–including $10 billion to reduce its own carbon footprint. As part of its green plan, the company developed and recently completed LEED certified Gold data centers in Austin, TX and Frankfurt, Germany.

“From a financial standpoint, as well as environmental, there’s always an incentive if you can optimize your efficiency, you can lower our internal costs,” said James F. Carney, executive vice president of data center planning and critical systems for Citigroup Technology Infrastructure.

“It’s very important for corporate America to make a statement and set some goals out there you can point to,” Carney tells GlobeSt.com after the panel’s presentation. “You can’t just talk about it, you have to do it.”

The architect behind Citgroup’s Austin facility is Texas native Jay Liese, AIA, principal at Corgan Associates in New York. “The whole evolution with the green data center, the focus on green, is something we’ve seen over the past five years,” said Corgan. He said that most corporate clients have received a mandate from higher up for at the very least, more green facilities.

Liese said that in discussions with his clients, they are approaching the issue in four different ways:

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