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Cars and trucks have long been the most visible symbol of America’s insatiable thirst for energy. But data centers—those sprawling computing centers that cram thousands of energy-hungry servers into air-conditioned rooms—though less visible, are starting to take their toll as well. As most CIOs know, data centers are wildly expensive and require gobs of electricity to maintain. And more than a few vendors are starting to feel the CIOs’ pain, marketing their servers and processors as energy efficient and eco-friendly.

So we sat down with Dave Douglas, the vice president of eco-responsibility at Sun Microsystems, to craft some ways to cut energy costs from the data center and do the earth a favor in the meantime. Here are the 10 steps to a greener data center:

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