Equinix is adding multi-colored LED lights to the exterior of one of its data centers in Ashburn, Virginia, in an attempt to make it more aesthetically pleasing to local residents.
Data Center Frontier reports that Equinix last week gained county approval to add decorative lighting to its DC21 facility.
The company will add 60 ground-mounted fixtures ranging in wattage from 120W up to 235W and pointing inward to illuminate the facade.
The company aims to use upward-facing LED lights to ‘bathe its facade with colors to reflect holidays and seasonal themes’; red, white, and blue for the fourth of July, green for St. Patrick's Day, and pink for Valentine's Day, and Breast Cancer Awareness month, for example.
In its filing, Equinix said the display will "bring a more diverse visibility and positive exposure of data centers within the community, creating a landmark at the entrance to Data Center Alley."
The Loudoun Board of Supervisors approved the new lighting in a 5-3 vote on Tuesday. County planning staff had recommended denying the request, noting that the Equinix proposal was inconsistent with county policy on protecting the night sky
"We've had constituents say data centers are ugly, and look like big gray blocks," said Supervisor Sylvia Glass. "This provides an opportunity to do something different to dress things up. It looks like you're trying to do something to make it more fun. This is the first kind of application like this, so let's see how it works."
Several supervisors expressed concern about light pollution, as well as the prospect that other data centers will follow suit.
"What I don't want is for this part of Loudoun County to look like Las Vegas," said supervisor Caleb Kershner. "One data center might not do it, but many more probably would."
Located at 22175 Beaumeade Circle in Ashburn, Equinix DC21 is the first building on a new campus at the intersection of Loudoun County Parkway and Waxpool Road. The two-story building offers 41,650 sq ft (3,870 sqm) of colocation space.
With dozens of grey concrete boxes along data center alley, Loudoun is introducing new zoning rules that will require data centers in the county to consider aesthetics more than they do currently.