IT companies worldwide have jumped on board the green data centre trend with sustainable ideas and features that have promised to drastically cut their carbon emissions.
However, while some of these architectural plans promised massive improvements, it seems the actual delivery of others are proving to be far from green.
Fourteen of the world’s IT companies were assessed and rated on a traditional A through F grading scale. The grades were based on four separate areas; energy transparency, infrastructure siting, energy efficiency and greenhouse gas mitigation. Coal, nuclear and renewable energy usages were also factored in.
The results are varied to say the least.
According to Greenpeace, coming in at the absolute bottom of the barrel are both Apple and Amazon. Both received marks of F across the board, with the exception of Amazon’s overall efficiency, which achieved a D rating.
A key reason given for Amazon in particular is the IT company’s massive growth, which is not being efficiently catered to, according to the report.
“AWS (Amazon Web Services) has seen tremendous growth over the past year, but fails to disclose information on its environmental footprint at either a company-wide or facility level,” the report says.
However, Amazon has lashed back at the report, questioning Greenpeace’s findings and citing their extensive work on cloud computing as a key element in their carbon cutting practices.
Apple, on the other hand, have outright disputed the report which states the overall use of renewable energy for their North Carolina centre will sit at approximately 10 per cent. Apple put this figure closer to 60 per cent.
While there are major disputes about the allegedly less-than-green centres, some companies scored well in the Greenpeace report. Yahoo, Facebook and Google all managed to score A grades.
Google has committed to becoming the greenest IT company in the world, and is certainly backing this statement up in terms of their project delivery and the overall running of their data centres according to Greenpeace.
“Google has made significant efforts to increase the company’s transparency,” the report says. “This is a great step forward that will enable better awareness of energy and carbon management associated with data consumption.”
Greenpeace is certainly not letting major IT companies greenwash the IT industry and the wider community. Project delivery and the running of these supposedly ‘green’ buildings are often forgotten, and it is important that these buildings continue to be assessed throughout their lifetime to truly make any kind of environmental impact.