The Green Grid: Renewed Focus On Sustainability Required As Data Centre Construction Surges

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As the global data centre construction market continues to increase, data centre providers must keep long term sustainability front of mind when building and maintaining their facilities. This is according to The Green Grid, which suggests that these providers should come together and enhance their green efforts in order to tackle carbon emissions and create a more sustainable future.

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Lance Rütimann, vice president, The Green Grid.

The global market for data centre construction is predicted to reach a total value of $73.87bn by 2021, according to Technavio. For Lance Rütimann, vice president at The Green Grid, this rise means that data centre providers can no longer rely solely on fossil fuels to power their facilities. Instead, a ‘green’ mindset must be adopted, requiring a renewed focus on sustainability and a holistic approach to the entire data centre infrastructure.

Lance explains: “This rise in data centre construction is what’s to be expected as technology continues to advance; the Internet of Things (IoT), social media and digital transformation are all continuing to explode, in turn creating more data that needs to be stored.

While fossil fuels were once viewed as an effective resource for powering data centres, this is no longer the case. Data centres now account for 5% of global CO2 omissions and this will only increase if we don’t change our approach. What’s more, with limited supplies of fossil fuels, renewable energy is clearly a longer term and more sustainable solution.

“As such, when building new data centres – and this applies to existing facilities as well – providers must re-evaluate their sustainability practices. Specifically, by reviewing how they can make their data centres more energy efficient and then determining how they can best use renewable energy to power their facilities.

“Google is an enlightened example of this approach in practice. The tech giant made a very rational financial calculation on the explosive growth rate of its data and the amount of energy it would take to store all their data as it continues to grow. The company then actioned two steps.

Firstly, it looked at how to make its data infrastructure as well as all of their data networking and data components more energy efficient. Secondly, the company started buying or sourcing renewable energy to power its data centres. Google has pledged that between 2020 and 2025, all of its operations will be powered by renewable energy. Facebook and Apple have also made similar pledges.”

“There are clearly more sustainable ways to design, power and operate data centre facilities. Rather than relying exclusively on unsustainable fossil fuel energies, providers should follow the same suit as the larger hyperscalers and adopt renewable energy sources to power their data centres. While an entirely green approach may not be possible for all at present, a feasible alternative is to use renewable energy as secondary source of power.

“Data production and the space needed to store that data is going to continue to grow exponentially, this is why we need to enhance our efforts to make sure data centres are as green as possible. Doing so will help to tackle rising carbon emissions and create a more sustainable future,” Lance concludes.

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