Riding on the new wave of renewable energy within the tech world, several global companies have resorted to transform their outdated, fossil fuel-backed business models into clean energy-dependent models. A data center is no different. The colossal demand for cloud and internet services is underpinning the success of data centers, but the growth equates to increasing demand for electric power. Swedish researcher, Anders Andrae, forecasts that by 2025, data centers will amount to ICT’s biggest share of global electricity production at 33 percent.
In the light of such statistics, green technology has been at the forefront of the data center industry for some time now. Extremely conscious about the increasing energy costs coupled with environmental degradation, data centers are known to have some of the most advanced tools of any sector for energy efficiency. Some of these include the European Union Code of Conduct for data centers, The Green Grid, and an array of other certifications and standards for data centers available today.
In this blog we will discuss some of the most prevalent and effective steps taken by companies to go green with their data centers.
Conducting regular energy audits
It is critical for companies to audit the facilities’ current energy consumption to create a baseline. A baseline audit offers both real-time assessment of usage and efficiency and a benchmark for future evaluations. As companies implement green data center practices, they conduct regular audits on a quarterly or semi-annual basis. So, make sure to check with your local utilities to learn more about their energy auditing programs—many offer audits for free.
Using smart energy management tools
Data centers mostly use various software to model the data center and redesign it for energy efficiency. There are also software that allow managers to establish the return on investment (ROI) and to measure how long it will take to recoup the investment. TechRepublic reports that there is much to be gained from applying smart software tools to manage electrical data center infrastructures.
Redesigning for energy efficiency
Nobody gets it right at first. Companies often check in regularly with HVAC providers and energy-efficiency experts to redesign their data centers for more savings. For instance, companies are eliminating wasted space by consolidating office space, reducing their data center’s overall square footage, or designing a modular data center to reorganize savings.
The biggest tech giants of the world like Amazon, Facebook, and Microsoft are proving to be the frontrunners here.
Wind-Powered Data Centers
The usage of wind-generated power in data centers has continued to surge to rise in the last decade due to advantages like wind being renewable and using very little diesel fuel.
We can look at the example of Microsoft here, which is rapidly turning to wind-powered data centers, especially for its locations in the US like Illinois, Wisconsin, and Wyoming, These data centers have made transitions towards renewable energy with 237 megawatts of wind energy backing their Wyoming station, 178 megawatts for their Kansan center, and 175 megawatts towards their Illinois data center. The most exciting part is that Microsoft has stated that this transition will make it cheaper for states and cities to switch to clean energy in the process.
Solar-Powered Data Centers
There is no doubt about solar energy being a huge contender in the renewable energy initiative for a while now. Solar power also has made tremendous strides in the data center world as well.
While several tech mammoths have pushed solar energy as choice of renewable energy, we will look at the example of Amazon, which has big plans to install solar panels on the rooftops of more than 15 fulfillment and sortation centers in the US alone. Similarly, the company has vowed to do the same for all of its data centers by 2020, which is estimated to meet all of its power demands. The company has also pledged to do the same for existing and new facilities around the world.
Underwater Data Centers
Although the energy aspect of data centers is slowly becoming environment-friendly, the issue of cooling these data centers is still a major concern.
Once again, Microsoft has taken the lead in introducing underwater data centers, which ties into hydropower as well leaving it self-sustainable to some amazing levels. The project is currently underway, but it is being hailed as the future of both renewable energy in data centers and the way these data centers are cooled.