Re: Isn't this how Labs have been built for years?
"I know several colleges that take this route to source cheap Powervaults for storage, and write off the electric cost as OpEx."
In a lot of cases it's a blatently false economy and the accountants should be sniffing around.
The power savings from updating my home server (8 year old dual 5143 xeon with 32Gb of 2Gb FB-DIMMS that draw 12W - EACH!) to a modern atom server board (about 400 pounds with memory) are such that the newer board will have paid for itself in about 6 months from power savings alone - and it's a lot quieter too, because overall power consumption is down from 550W to ~90W and the fans don't need to scream.