Audi has completed the first phase ofa new computer center, which will feature "green IT" aimed at helping the German premium car maker lower its energy costs.

Audi hopes the new center will be operational by the middle of 2012.

The computer center in Ingolstadt, where Audi has its headquarters, aims to reduce CO2 emissions. IT operations worldwide account for 2 pc of all CO2 emissions, roughly the same environmental impact as generated by the airline industry.

"The new building is an important step in the direction of reducing CO2 emissions in IT," Audi CIO Klaus Straub said in a statement. Straub hopes to lower annual energy usage at the carmaker's three computer centers in Ingolstadt by at least a third. The operations used 17 million Kwh of electricity in 2009, which is equivalent to the energy use of more than 4,000 private homes.

The new building will feature so-called "indirect free airconditioning," a system that uses outside air when temperaturs outside are 12 degrees centigrade or less. Airconditioning costs are expected to drop 50 pc.

The new center will also use highly efficient equipment such as transformers that don't generate excess heat.