The ongoing push to make major tech company data centers more energy efficient has paid off with three major firms gaining recognition last week with LEED certifications. They were awarded to a Facebook facility in Oregon, a Yahoo! site in Nebraska and a QTS data center located in Atlanta, Georgia.

QTS (Quality Technology Services) a leading provider of data center facilities and managed services, earned LEED-Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council for its 990,000-square-foot data center campus in Georgia.

According to reports, the firm has been working to reduce and offset power at its Atlanta Metro Data Center in the last four years, since it purchased the property. In that time, the company has installed a rainwater capture system as part of the site's cooling infrastructure and improved power usage effectiveness by 11.4 percent since January 2010.

Most recently, the company hosted an EDF Climate Corps fellow who teamed up with the data center's operations and engineering departments to identify additional ways in which the center could improve efficiency. As a result, the company plans to invest $10 million to carry out those recommendations.

Facebook also received LEED-Gold certification recently for its Prineville, Oregon data center which was designed specifically to slash energy use. The firm said its 147,000-square-foot facility uses 52 percent less energy than other similarly-sized data centers built to code.

The facility's checklist of green systems includes:

' A sophisticated outside air evaporative cooling system, eliminating the need for cooling towers and chillers.

' Custom servers that use 38% less energy.

' An on-site electrical substation that slashes energy lost during conversion and delivery to 7.5%, compared to the usual loss of 21% to 27%.

' 27% of the building's construction materials were made of recycled products and 30% were locally sourced.

' 91% of the wood used in the center's construction was certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.

' 83% of construction waste was recycled.

' A rainwater harvesting systems supplies all of the facility's irrigation and toilet water.

' A solar power system produces about 204 megawatts of electricity for the center's offices, which are warmed by reusing heat from servers.

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Typography for the web has really come into its own in the past few years.

Unfortunately, many website designers lack the specific training and years of focus on typography that experts in other disciplines, like print publishing, have long had. However, that doesn't mean that you can't find fantastic web-safe fonts for your small business website.

The following four font elements necessary to convey your company message in an easy-to-read fashion:

Readability

The aesthetics of your website are useless if the content is illegible. When choosing a font for the copy on your site, simple is better. Keep things clean and avoid over-complicated type.

Save the creative efforts for headlines and pull-quotes. Your body copy should always be clear and easy to read.
Consider a medium-weight font, around 13px, in either a simple serif or sans-serif. Unless you are going for a very specific look, it is considered bad form to have more than three different font families on the same page.

Mood/Message

Your font is just as important as the images on the page.
Like any other page element, your fonts portray mood and emotion, just like your website's color scheme and graphics. For example, heavy fonts convey strength, while lightweight fonts give the impression of openness and space.
Coupled with scale and color choices, your font can become a powerful tool to convey feelings and attitudes.

Crossovers

It is important to remember that not everyone accesses the web in the same way. There are many combinations of device hardware, operating systems and screen resolutions, each of which will render fonts differently. This is another reason why it is important not to overcomplicate your typography.

Good web typography means knowing when to be flexible. That may mean choosing a different font for mobile devices or adjusting font sizes and contrasts for small screen displays.

In short, fonts can greatly affect the aesthetics of your site and can convey a lot of meaning.

Copyright 2011 dzine it, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Small business owners know that the use of blogs, Facebook and Twitter can help generate leads, build brand awareness and grow audiences. However, there is one social network that doesn’t get quite the same attention.

You may be surprised to learn that LinkedIn has more than one million members. When you combine this figure with LinkedIn’s reputation for being the best professional social search engine on the web, you realize that LinkedIn is a virtual goldmine for small businesses.

Here are a few ways that you can use LinkedIn to grow your business:

1. Grow Your Network. Unlike the other social networking sites, LinkedIn is all about connecting with others on a “professional” level. Most people who use the networking website are looking for future vendors, job prospects or new ways to build their resume. People are on LinkedIn with the sole purpose of connecting for business reasons, so small businesses need to take advantage of that.

2. Conduct Market Research. When you build your LinkedIn network, you can leverage it in the future to get opinions on new product ideas, current offerings, what they like about your brand, and more. By taking advantage of the LinkedIn Q&A or posing questions via your LinkedIn status, you’re able to pick your audience’s brain without spending a lot of money.

3. Find New Employees. While keeping tabs on people in your industry, keep your eyes open for potential new hires. If you haven’t used LinkedIn’s Advanced Search functionality before, you may be surprised to know that you’re able to search a number of criteria like keyword, years of experience, previous employers, and more. You can narrow down your search within just a few miles from your location, making LinkedIn the ultimate recruiting tool.

4. Follow Your Competitors. Your competitors are using LinkedIn. Keep an eye on who they’re connecting with, who they’re leaving recommendations for and the projects they are talking about. This allows you to learn about what your competitors are working on and where their focus may be.

5. Build Online Reviews. Reviews of your business help to build authority and relevance in the eyes of both users and the search engines. Use the LinkedIn network you’re building to help create positive referrals. Ask customers, vendors, partners and previous employers to recommend your business and share their experience with others.

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