Intelligent Data Centres Issue 33 | Page 21


Putting data centre sustainability into practice

John Booth , Chair DCA Energy Efficiency SIG and
MD Carbon3IT , discusses how the data centre sector can improve its operations to create a more efficient and sustainable business environment , and make the goal of being net zero neutral by 2050 , a reality .

There is no doubt that sustainability in terms of data centres is an interesting topic , there is also no doubt that a data centre is where the traditional hard engineering of electrical and mechanical services meets the soft engineering of digital services , the blend of new and old tech coupled with the urgent need to decarbonise makes for a complex discussion and covers many areas .

The Data Centre Alliance ’ s Sustainability SIG have been preparing a DCA Sustainability whitepaper that will be published in Q1 2022 .
As data centre sustainability is a hot topic at the moment , it ’ s worth asking the question : why ?
No one can have possibly failed to notice the climate emergency , with the topic regularly appearing in the media – shedding light on the recent firestorms in the US , Italy and Greece , unseasonal weather in the UK , flooding , the highest ever recorded temperature in Sicily ( 48 ° C ), ice sheets melting , and that ’ s just in 2021 .
The subject has been on the world ’ s agenda since the UN Rio meeting in 1992 .
Subsequent Conference of Parties , or COPs , have taken place at regular intervals – the most recent taking place in Chile in 2019 and another in November in the UK : COP26 . The IPCC reports and the actions required are debated , usually resulting in Protocols or Agreements – the best known being the Kyoto Protocol ( 1997 ) where countries committed to reducing the amount of the six greenhouse gases ( Carbon Dioxide ( CO 2 ) , Methane ( CH 4 ), Nitrous Oxide ( N 2 O ), Hydrofluorocarbons ( HFCs ), Perfluorocarbons ( PFCs ) and Sulphur hexafluoride ( SF 6 )) emitted into the Earth ’ s atmosphere , and the Paris Agreement ( Dec 2015 ) where the COPs ( 196 ) agreed a legally binding agreement on climate change that entered into force in November 2016 . This agreement was to limit global warming to well below 2 but preferably 1.5 ° C , compared to preindustrial levels . In essence , countries aim to reach the global peaking of greenhouse emissions as soon as possible in order to achieve a climate neutral world by 2050 .
In order to achieve this goal , the World Resources Institute has developed 10 key solutions that are needed to reduce Greenhouse Gas emissions . These include : phasing out the use of coal power ; invest in clean energy and efficiency ; retrofit buildings ; www . intelligentdatacentres . com