SSA data center to go green

Agency will use energy-efficient technology

The Social Security Administration intends to use green information technology solutions in the new $800 million data center that will replace its existing facility.

SSA will use money from the economic stimulus law to help identify and install energy-efficient IT solutions at the new National Support Center, which handles Social Security benefits, according to a plan released May 18 on the Recovery.gov Web site. Green IT solutions are designs, practices and devices that reduce environmental impact and limit energy consumption.

The agency will be working with an IT consulting firm to help identify the green requirements, the plan states.

“The sustainability, energy efficiency and environmental impact resulting from the project are dependent on the initial building design, IT equipment selections, and ongoing operations of the data center," the plan states. "We are committed to incorporating energy-efficient IT solutions as part of the ongoing operations of the National Support Center.”

SSA officials also said they are working with industry experts in data center technology and energy efficiency during the project's development stages to identify designs and energy performance goals for the center's construction and operations.

Under the economic stimulus law, SSA will receive $500 million to replace the 30-year-old data center that houses the backbone of the agency’s operations. About $350 million is slated for the building, and $150 million will be used for IT upgrades at the data center. The entire project is expected to cost $800 million, including the building, power and cooling, IT hardware, and applications.

SSA said it wants to eliminate backlogs in processing and improve core services.

“Our success in achieving these goals depends on the key foundational element of information technology," the plan states. "The construction of a National Support Center is at the core of SSA’s information technology strategy."

Officials expect to solicit a design/build contract for the data center in October 2010, the General Services Administration will award the contract in March 2011, and construction will be completed by October 2013.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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