Three Steps Toward More Sustainable Data Centers

April 28, 2015

The March 2015 IDC report, Enterprise Datacenter Power Issues: What They Are and How to Address Them, noted that “the cost of power accounts for nearly one-quarter of U.S. datacenter annual operational budgets.”

Given that the cost of power is such a large portion of data center operating budgets, it's understood that running more sustainable data centers as efficiently as possible is good for the bottom line. Moreover, as one of the largest data center providers in the world, we take seriously our responsibility to promote sustainability.

As a very recent example, last week the data center we built for our client Rackspace came online. This data center is extremely energy efficient due primarily to the design of its cooling system, which uses outside air for heat transfer but doesn’t actually pull any of the outside air through equipment on the IT floor.

Here are three ways Digital Realty is working to maximize energy efficiency and sustainability, and to reduce operating costs at our data center facilities.

1. Energy Efficiency

Digital Realty’s expert staff is dedicated to improving energy efficiency in our data centers. This includes screening assets for low- and no-cost upgrades, as well as capital projects where highly energy-efficient products are given preference during replacement and upgrade. The benefit is lower operating costs for our clients.Our participation in the Better Buildings Challenge exemplifies our commitment. The Challenge is a Department of Energy-led initiative to improve energy efficiency in data centers by 20 percent by 2020. For more details on this exciting program, visit this blog article.

Digital Realty is also an active contributor to ASHRAE’s efforts to advance data center energy efficiency and sustainability. Paul Finch, our Senior Technical Director, holds a voting position with ASHRAE on the Technical Committee for Mission Critical Facilities, Data Centers, Technology Spaces and Electronic Equipment. This committee takes a leadership role in developing new publications and standards in energy efficiency and sustainability for the data center industry.

We are very proud that Paul is one of the 16 voting members of ASHRAE, and the only voting member based in EMEA.

2. Clean Energy

In January 2015, we launched the Clean Start Program to support our clients’ goals to power their data centers with clean renewable energy. This was the first industry initiative of its kind offering clean energy options for new leases, at no incremental cost. And our 2014 portfolio average fuel mix contains 22% renewables; we are working with power suppliers and clients to meet our long term goal of powering our data centers with 100% renewable energy.In addition, Digital Realty recently became a signatory to the Corporate Renewable Energy Buyers’ Principles, developed jointly by the World Wildlife Fund and the World Resources Institute. The principles seek to spur progress on resolving the challenges corporations face when buying renewable energy.

3. Green Buildings

Digital Realty has a successful track record of delivering more than 40 sustainable “green” building certifications. These data centers are built to best-in-class sustainable standards for energy performance and resource efficiency. This global success story includes projects in the United States, the United Kingdom and Ireland, Singapore, and Australia. Our data center in Austin, Texas – a custom build for ARM Holdings – recently won a DatacenterDynamics Green Data Center.

We are excited to continue our work with our clients to promote better energy performance and sustainability. Contact Us to learn how our expertise can help meet your goals for energy efficiency, clean energy and green buildings.

Aaron Binkley, Director of Sustainability (@agbinkley)

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