Data centers and IT operators need a comprehensive sustainability strategy to reduce their environmental impact. A sustainability strategy will be successful if it has equal importance with other business imperatives. The global digital infrastructure authority, Uptime Institute, had previously announced a new Executive Advisory report series titled ‘Digital infrastructure sustainability – a manager’s guide’. This comprehensive executive advisory series will guide and support digital infrastructure operators to devise a successful sustainability strategy.
As part of their sustainability strategy, data center managers must address water use, circularity requirements, and data center siting and design specifications. In this article, we have summarized for you the final report in the series – “Three Key Sustainability Elements: Water, Circularity, and Siting”.
Water is a very important resource for cooling data center equipment. In recent years, new cooling technologies have been developed which have reduced the dependence on water-based cooling technologies. To be more sustainable, managers should make an inventory of how much water is being used. They can do this by choosing equipment that uses less water or changing their operations. They should also set goals to use less water.
Circularity considerations include recycling and reusing products at the end of their life, using recycled materials, and heat recovery. The citing and design of a new data center, as well as the selection of a colocation or cloud facility, set the boundaries for the sustainability strategy for all associated IT.
Uptime’s sustainability advisory for data center operators and IT managers
How to manage water usage in data centers?
- Create a water use inventory for each data center and consider implementing a water conservation plan and goal.
- Track how much water is used at the facility level. Record and report this information to a central database to provide a portfolio-level water use inventory.
- Set a goal to reduce water usage by data centers in water-stressed regions.
- Set a goal to reduce water usage, expressed as a percentage reduction from the amount of water used in a previous year, a percentage reduction each year, or a rolling three-year percentage reduction.
- Wherever available and practicable, use nonpotable or recycled water for cooling.
- When assessing a data center’s effect on area water supplies, consider both primary and secondary water use.
How to take care of circularity in data centers?
- Make sure to have a set process for getting rid of old IT equipment. This will help to make sure that things are recycled and reused as much as possible, instead of ending up in a landfill.
- Make sure that end-of-life product management service providers and any secondary users of the products manage materials that comply with contract requirements.
- You can extend the life of your equipment by setting refresh rates based on the performance and reliability needs of the different IT workloads.
- Purchase those types of IT equipment that can be upgraded with new component technologies, where technically feasible.
Siting, design, and certification considerations
- Make sure to consider sustainability when choosing where to site the data center, how it will be designed, and what services will be used. Sustainability should be given the same priority as other important design elements.
- Consider using low-carbon and/or recycled materials when constructing the data center facility.
- A carefully selected and well-designed facility that supports sustainability objectives will attract customers with sustainability objectives and show an operator’s commitment to its sustainability strategy.
Data center operators and IT managers can explore the full report here.
Source: Uptime Institute