Environmental concerns are top of every business’ agenda these days. We all know about reducing our carbon footprint. You may think your business is moving towards a greener future by reducing paper use and switching to email.
However, we must remember that technology isn’t carbon-free, and it isn’t only your own electricity usage that counts. We need to consider data centres too.
When we use the internet or email, we don’t usually think about the framework that supports it. Data centres are usually built away from highly populated areas, so most people never see one. However, data centres consume huge amounts of electricity. So how can we address the carbon footprint of these centres through a sustainable business strategy? Read on to find out.
Why do Data Centres use so Much Energy?
Data centres house the servers that stores all the data to make the world’s electronic networks function. The servers that store all that data contain millions of tiny electronic components. These components are very sensitive to changes in temperature and humidity. So most of the energy used in data centres goes on keeping the entire building at a constant temperature and humidity.
As internet access reaches more and more communities around the world, the number of data centres grows. By 2025 it is estimated that data centres could consume 20% of the world’s electricity. In order to reduce the carbon footprint of data centres, we need to pursue more than one strategy. Switching to renewable electricity generation is just one way to reduce emissions.
Reducing Carbon Emissions Through Renewable Electricity Generation
A first step towards reducing carbon emissions from the data centres is to produce electricity from renewable sources. Many countries are moving towards more renewable energy sources nationally. Many data centres are also now building their own renewable energy production. Some major players in the data centre business, such as Amazon, have made a commitment to 100% renewable energy for their data centres.
Data centres built with their own wind or solar power plant are becoming more and more common. National governments can encourage the greater use of local power generation by making power provision part of the planning application system for new data centres. As a business, choosing to use suppliers with a commitment to renewable use contributes to your own sustainability strategy.
How Technological Development can Reduce Carbon Emissions
The main reason for the high energy consumption of data centres is the technologies that run the servers require a certain operating temperature. If it were possible to develop new technologies which have a wider operating temperature, energy usage could be drastically reduced. Improving building design is another area where improvements can be made to reduce the carbon footprint of data centres.
Efficiency savings need to be factored in at the planning stage for new data centres. Better ventilation and natural cooling systems can reduce electricity consumption. These measures aren’t just good for the environment, they also make these centres cheaper to run. That means lower bills for everyone. Choosing a sustainable data provider is likely to become part of every business’s sustainability strategy.
Using AI to Reduce the Carbon Footprint of Data Centres
Companies increasingly use Artificial Intelligence to monitor temperature and humidity in data centres. Systems can be tuned to actual needs, with twenty-four-hour monitoring. Turning off systems when not needed has a big impact on energy consumption. Reducing energy use also reduces costs. Green technology is proving to be more cost-effective for businesses, which can pass savings on to customers.
Re-Using Heat from Data Centres
During the cooling process, data centres produce a lot of excess heat, which is usually wasted. However, with careful planning, this heat can be used for other purposes. Waste heat from some data centres provides heating for local housing and even swimming pools This excess heat can generate additional electricity. This combination of reduction and re-use increases sustainability and reduces costs.
How Data Centres can Encourage Green Energy Production
Businesses are increasingly using carbon reduction and green business strategies as marketing tools. Where there is a choice, customers opt for green products. As companies demand green energy for data centres, they also market their green credentials to customers. Both demands for green energy for data centres and increased consumer choice encourage more green energy production. Demand for green energy increases supply.
As a business, you’ll want to find the most sustainable suppliers. Clean energy and new technology can combine to make data storage more sustainable. In the future, you will be able to choose green data, the same way you choose green energy. So, make the right choice for your business and for the planet. Choose a green data provider for your business.
Design, Technology and Re-Use to Reduce your Carbon Footprint
While the carbon footprint of data centres can’t be completely eliminated, there are ways to reduce it by significant amounts. Green energy production, new technologies and AI monitoring can improve sustainability.
Re-use of heat can provide cheap, carbon neutral heating for local buildings. Most importantly, green options will increase demand for green solutions. Giving consumers a choice drives environmental business policies.