INDUSTRY INTELLIGENCE POWERED BY THE DCA out and operations containing embodied energy or scope 3 emissions and that grid and backup power contain both scope 1 ( onsite ) and scope 2 ( procured energy ), the task is not insignificant and unfortunately to date , only the minimum has been achieved .
The reason being is that there is no strict definition of what a ‘ sustainable ’ data centre looks like , but there is some guidance and references to sustainability in the various international Standards and Technical Reports , although even these fall some way short of what will be required for net zero .
However , is the focus on data centre sustainability unfair ? After all , the sector is only responding to demand which comes from you ; the consumer of digital services . These digital services are social media , online shopping , streaming , banking , research and whatever else you can do online . And in actual fact , the use of ICT and thus , data centres , are making us more aware of what is affecting the world , from climate research to mitigation , such as reducing the amount of shopping trips in favour of a click , providing us with the power to design to adapt to climate change through better use of data .
In order to meet the world ’ s climate change and net zero targets , every sector is going to have to change its approach and decarbonise , and that includes the data centre sector . We simply must have a radical rethink of what it is we actually do , and that means a top to bottom transformation , from power to cooling , from business models to security , from fire suppression to access .
It has not escaped governments and other public authorities that data centres are large energy users and use a considerable amount of resources during construction and operations , so it is not unexpected that they are keeping a close eye on the sector .
Four locations currently have moratoriums on new builds , these include Frankfurt , Dublin , Singapore and Amsterdam . There is also a question of energy capacity , in order to ‘ decarbonise ’ the grid , substantial upgrade work is required globally . This will restrict growth in some locations and so access to power is going to become difficult .
One of the EU Green Deal ‘ Fit for 55 ’ proposals is that each member state compiles a mandatory data centre register , requesting location , energy usage , amount of renewable energy used among other data . While this is merely a proposal , the direct of travel is clear .
The UK government has recently published a report with a similar goal – the registration of public sector data centre assets , which will cover third-party facilities . The question is , what will they do with the data they collect ?
The world faces a climate emergency and data centres are a part of the problem , but they are also a part of the solution – just not in their current form . The sector needs to take a long hard look at itself and ask , ‘ can we do what we do better ? Can we build sustainable data centres ? Can we educate our customers better so we can adopt the best practices as contained in the EU Code of Conduct for Data Centres ( Energy Efficiency ) and other global standards ? Can we play our part in helping the world reach the net zero goals ?’
The DCA Sustainability Guide , which is currently in preparation , will provide some pointers as to what we can do to reach the goal of sustainable data centres . ◊ www . intelligentdatacentres . com