The data center industry is facing increasing pressure from consumers, regulators, and other stakeholders to reduce the environmental impact of its operations. The result is that the data center industry increasingly focuses on reducing its environmental impact.
According to the company, a new resource from Vertiv could help operators achieve this goal. Called the Vertiv Guide to Data Center Sustainability, the resource guides organizations on reducing the consumption of resources like energy and water while also managing carbon emissions and other environmental effects.
“We’re seeing a sense of urgency by operators across the industry to reduce the impact of their operations on the environment, and this new resource is designed to help them do just that,” stated TJ Faze, head of ESG strategy and engagement at Vertiv. “The focus on operational efficiency has enabled significant improvements, but now new strategies and more intelligent systems are required to drive down emissions and water use as the industry continues to grow.”
An International Energy Agency report suggests that data centers account for 1% of worldwide electricity consumption. That said, 2020 experienced an immense surge in global internet traffic by more than 40%, and Market Intelligence projects that data center construction will grow at a rate of 13% annually over the next 5 years.
Large hyperscale operators led the sustainability movement by setting aggressive goals to become carbon neutral or even carbon negative towards the end of this decade. These operators are at the forefront of developing new technologies and strategies that support these goals and lead the way for the rest of the industry.
For example, Apple, Google Cloud, Amazon, and Microsoft are all taking climate change seriously by pledging to reach net zero carbon emissions. Technology companies in China, such as Chindata, Alibaba, Tencent, GDS, and Baidu are also working on lessening their carbon footprints from data center operations.
In addition to these large operators, many colocation providers are also working to reduce their environmental impact. These providers often rely on renewable energy sources and other strategies like water conservation to achieve carbon neutrality and improve their sustainability.
“In Europe alone, over 25 European cloud and data center operators and 17 other industry associations have signed an agreement to make their facilities carbon neutral via 100% renewable energy sources by 2030,” explained Karsten Winther, EMEA president at Vertiv. “This will only be achievable if organizations implement new strategies and innovative systems that reduce the consumption of resources.”
The Vertiv’s Guide to Data Centre Sustainability provides:
- Guidance in the business case for sustainability
- How data center infrastructure and associated technologies are developing to support increased use of renewable energy and higher utilization
- Metrics, resources and frameworks for launching and monitoring sustainability programs
- Best practices for operating and designing low-impact data centers
The report offers several suggestions on how data center operators can reduce environmental impact. These methods include increasing asset utilization, optimizing infrastructure efficiency, transitioning to renewable energy sources and reducing water usage. Other potential solutions include reusing data center heat and reducing e-waste by optimizing the supply chain. Ultimately, there is no single solution to reducing the environmental impact of data centers, and organizations will need to consider various factors when prioritizing improvement opportunities.
“Our newly launched guide, paired with our depth of experience in providing infrastructure solutions, allows us to share best practices and innovations from across the industry to educate these operators and help to reduce the environmental footprint of their facilities, not only in Europe but across the globe,” added Winther.
data center | ESG | market research | power | sustainability | Vertiv