The latest in IT and sustainability collaboration is the concept of the green data centre. Taking the international green building sector by storm, green data centres now make up more than half of the power management programs worldwide according to the 2012 Energy Efficient IT report.
Major global brands such as Google and Facebook have used this new green technology concept to green their businesses.
This naturally leads to questions as to whether these new data centres really make a difference in terms of costs and carbon emissions. Are they effective, or are they just more greenwash?
The simple answer: greenwash it is not.
While the effects on economic and environmental factors vary, there is no denying the fact that professionals and companies who switch to green data centres see drastic cuts to their carbon emissions and associated costs, with 75 per cent of those included in the aforementioned IT report substantially reducing their IT energy costs. This is due to the high carbon emitting nature of the internet.
It is a little-known fact that the internet and IT server technology is some of the brownest currently available. The article ‘Just How Energy Efficient Is the Internet?’ revealed the startling fact that data centres alone produce over 130 billion kWh of carbon annually. On top of this, the carbon emissions associated with computer servers are equivalent to those of a medium-sized country.
That is a lot of carbon and a LOT of money, with the latter only set to increase with harsher tax penalties coming into play in Australia in the next couple of months.
The 2012 Energy Efficient IT report shows that businesses used a number of means in order to cut their carbon emissions. Some 65 per cent used virtualised servers or storage, while 60 per cent consolidated servers, 46 per cent implemented low-power/low-wattage processors, 44 per cent used Energy Star qualifying devices, 31 per cent used power-efficient networking equipment and 28 per cent implemented the use of energy-efficient/load shedding uninterruptible power supplies.
The implementation of cloud computing is also aiding in the greening of data centre management, as it takes pressure off the mainframe and transfers it to the online realm.
By implementing even the smallest of changes, such as highly-efficient cooling systems (with a majority of the energy used in data centres for server cooling purposes) or the consolidation of technologies and wiring systems, data centres run more efficiently and cost less. With two of the world’s most prominent IT-reliant businesses on board with this green building solution, confidence in its strong investment potential should be high.