PayPal’s Data Centers Going Green

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For Rich Reyher, transitioning to clean energy isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s a necessary investment in our future. As Senior Director of Global Data Center Services, Rich oversees PayPal’s data centers worldwide—and understands the high-magnitude of energy these buildings consume. He’s determined to run these energy-hungry buildings with completely renewable resources.
Rich brought his passion for renewable energy to PayPal in 2015, and in his role ensures PayPal’s data centers process and distribute a massive amount of customer data and company information at the speed of light.
Tell us about PayPal’s data centers.
We’ve established a global presence and continue to grow. We have 13 data centers and 22 points of presence (POPs) providing customer access to the PayPal network, wherever they are around the globe. Data centers are significant consumers of energy – in the US, data centers consume nearly 2% of total electricity generated. That’s why we’re aggressively working to utilize renewable energy at PayPal to power each of our data centers around the world.
Why is going green a priority for your team?
It’s been a passion of mine for a long time. I understand the importance of offsetting high energy demand with renewable energy. It’s just the right thing to do; to be good stewards and give back to the community. That’s our mission here and what we’re all about.
Does your team have a renewable energy goal that you’re striving toward?
We want to be realistic and [understand] this takes a lot of time. We’re currently at 49% renewable energy in all data centers; our goal is to use 100% renewable energy in all data centers.
Are you confident your team will achieve that goal?
I feel confident because all the work we’ve done to date has really set the foundation to meet that goal. We also must connect with the right stakeholders to share our story and get them on board with our renewable energy perspective. It’s going to take a little while to get there, but we see a very bright light at the end of the tunnel.
How does the renewable energy goal fit into PayPal’s overarching environmental sustainability strategy?
PayPal is always working to take the next step on sustainable practices, and I believe we’ve set the standard for others to follow from a green energy perspective. One thing we’ve done as a company is join the Science-Based Targets initiative, which helps us develop a set of greenhouse gas reduction goals company-wide. In terms of data centers, with every watt or kilowatt our data centers consume, we are doing the right thing and making an overall positive impact.
Part of our strategy is staying true to who we are. We’re releasing our second annual Global Impact Report soon, which is our way of staying transparent with our customers and stakeholders about our progress. This report will help guide us to making sure we are 100% green.
PayPal’s data center services have also been recognized by the US EPA, what does that mean?
There are over 1,500 companies like PayPal that are large consumers of power but are actively working toward green energy. Out of those companies, the EPA recognizes the top 100 for the work they do with renewable energy. In the last two years, we’ve been in the top 100 and will continue to get better as we work towards meeting our goal.
As PayPal strives to make a global impact, what can people do in their daily lives to make a positive change?
I would inspire people to always think about what it takes to power or provide energy to things we take for granted every day and the impact it has on our planet. I would ask people to think about how we can be more efficient or use less energy and really encourage them to use renewable sources.
When you’re not working to implement clean energy, what do you like to do in your free time?
I love to travel with my wife in my spare time. I also enjoy being home — I’ve lived in the Phoenix area for 37 years, so this just feels like home to me. I have four boys, so I’m never bored when I’m home with my family. Whether it’s getting ready for my son’s graduation or taking my youngest to soccer practice, I just love spending time with my family. 
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