Emergence of Green Data Centers – Impact on Business and Environment

Published On February 19, 2021
In ESG, Blog Archives

More organizations are transitioning towards more eco-conscious and environmentally friendly activities. These changes are incorporated at a grass root level to ensure sustainability is embedded into the core of business operations and develops as part of the corporate culture. Data processing centers are no different.   

With the boom of information processing and management facilities, data centers are one of the fast growing industries in today’s corporate climate. An unfortunate side effect of their rapid growth is the projection that data centers will be responsible for consuming 20% of the world’s power by 2025 and cause 5.5% of the world’s carbon footprint.   

Introducing an ESG consulting firm or a sustainability consulting firm is critical to ensuring better practices are a feasible option to implement and help businesses understand where they are going wrong and what they could be doing better.   

Emergence of Green Data Centers

Why Introduce “Green” Data Centers?  

Generally, data centers consist of strong hardware requirements used for data processing; fans, consoles, monitors, lighting and systems to keep the area cool. As data access needs to stay available around the clock, most of these systems are running 24/7 without rest. Most of these systems are not even in use but are operational.  

Data centers are also responsible for the processing of data across multiple organizations. Centers within the United States alone consumed upwards of 73 thousand megawatts within 2020 alone. A single megawatt is capable of powering over 700 homes.  

Why Introduce “Green” Data Centers?

While economies of scale may not be apparent with the initial shift to more green conscious data centers, the numbers speak for themselves in the long run. Additionally, within the United States and Europe, more organizations are shifting focus from non-renewable energy to renewable sources. The rising costs of electricity across Europe along with strong consumer and industry awareness about sustainability practices means environmental awareness for corporate activities is non-negotiable. Additionally, the reduced overheads, enhanced efficiency and sustainability benefits redefine the need for conventional data processing methods. Green methods are simply just better for all stakeholders involved.   

How To Introduce “Green” Data Centers  

Currently, green IT services are enjoying its time in the spotlight. It was projected the overall industry value of sustainable service provision in 2020 was worth USD $7.2 billion with a 6% forecasted growth rate into 2021.   

For Data Centers unsure of how to incorporate these practices, here are five steps offering efficiency and effectiveness towards reaching the goal of sustainability;  

  1. Introduce An Energy Audit  

Businesses need to practically understand where their energy consumption is concentrated and where room to adopt better practices lies. Baseline energy audits compile this information from a grassroots level. With a large number of interconnected systems, understanding what these systems do individually and where their inefficiencies lie helps put together a bird’s eye perspective of what could be done better.  

Energy audits map how the inefficiencies translate to larger long term costs and help put together a feasible plan to remedy the same.   

“Green” Data Centers
  1. Pick Better Materials and Environmentally Friendly Practices  

Reducing a data center’s carbon footprint may sound largely taxing but better making small scale changes can have a big impact. Introducing better air compressors or simply turning off machines and systems, not in use can translate down to big savings. Where possible, introduce compact building materials known to have minimized emission, stronger recycling practices and alternative energy sources for both powering up and cooling down. 

Pick Better Materials and Environmentally Friendly Practices

Alternatives could include simply building data centers in naturally colder locations, redirecting outside air towards IT equipment for a natural cooling solution and even placing doors and roofs where cold air is likely to escape. With the heat produced by a large number of servers, it is even possible to provide heating for a neighboring building if this is considered at the time of construction.   

  1. Prioritize   

Creating change at a foundational level goes beyond the infrastructure and framework supporting the same. If the eco-friendly building is not utilized efficiently, costing may reduce only by a fraction of what it is supposed to. With an increasing number of high power density servicers and the rising cost of electricity, it is up to the organization to decide what needs to stay on the power payload.   

Moving more workloads to a digital space, taking heavy power consuming servers out of commission and introducing newer, more environmentally sustainable models is imperative to creating a green data center.   

  1. Keep Cool and Carry On   

Briefly touched on earlier, keeping your servers cool can be a cost consuming process. Moving operations to naturally cold environments can help cut down the investment needed to run the data center. Additionally pulling the cool air from the environment into the business through air economizers is a sure shot way to lower recurring cooling costs.   

During the energy audit, data centers are able to identify why and where cold air is quick to escape while simultaneously acknowledging where heat generation is centered around. Repurposing the heat for other buildings is an option, along with channeling the heat to other parts of the building to cut down running costs.   

For more information about going green, introducing ESG / Sustainability practices, a consulting firm might offer the insights needed.  

Emergence of Green Data Centers - Impact on Business and Environment

Conclusion  

With more and more businesses jumping on to environmentally sustainable practices, a spotlight is shone on businesses who seemingly do not care and consume large amounts of non-renewable resources. Avoid facing future turmoil by introducing better practices from the onset of your data centers.   

Before moving plans to fruition, consider the overall structure of the data center and where inefficiencies lie in terms of deployment, speed, performance, reliability and cost reduction. Mapping these, along with an energy audit, helps identify loopholes that can be addressed before actual business activities begin. Note that auditing can happen as frequently as the organization desires change.  

Energy auditing your business frequently, even after putting in as many sustainability ideas as possible, helps keep the data center aware of new, environmentally friendly practices. Should a revamp be necessary, the information will be readily available for adoption and execution. 

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SGA Digital Marketing Team
SGA Digital Marketing Team
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