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The Quest for Sustainability in the Modern Data Center

Data Center Energy Efficiency Program (DEEP)

An Introduction

Authors Steven Hill and Liz Cruz have interviewed and analyzed the responses of a dozen carefully selected data center operators regarding their approach to sustainability.

These extremely candid interviews span a broad range of IT environments, including higher education, healthcare, publishing, large enterprise, colocation, hybrid cloud, and data center hosting facilities.

This paper outlines the themes, general trends, and green initiatives discussed within these interviews, and identifies eight key categories where sustainability goals are being met within data centers of nearly every size.

Where we are today

Sustainability is a word that's gotten a lot of use over the last decade, especially for environments like data centers that are highly dependent on electrical power for every aspect of operations.

According to some estimates, data centers consume 220-320 TWh of power on an annual basis and account for over 100,000 MW of capacity. It seems obvious that reducing power consumption should be the primary target for sustainability in the data center; however, there are many factors in a complex system like a data center that affect power consumption, sustainability, and overall efficiency.

Fortunately, data center design has been continuously evolving for over six decades, with perhaps the greatest changes happening over the last 20 years. Due to advancements in data center construction, a growing number of "green" data centers have emerged, so-called due to their larger budgets and continued emphasis on sustainability initiatives. These data centers can serve as illustrative examples for the rest of the data center industry, not only highlighting the benefits of prioritizing sustainability in daily operations, but also paving a roadmap for other data centers to simplify the intricacies of sustainable technology and ultimately pursue their own "green journey."

Download the full whitepaper to learn more about these green data centers, the technologies and goals they've embraced on their path to sustainability, and how you can incorporate the same green initiatives for your own data center.