Using a combined total of more than 130 billion kilowatt hours of carbon annually, not to mention the emissions associated with computer servers, it is hardly surprising that the world’s data centres have become an increasing area of focus in terms of sustainable building, design and construction.
Thus far, the tone of that attention has been mixed. In April, for example, a Greenpeace report slammed IT giants such as Apple, Amazon and Microsoft for trying to greenwash the wider community while failing to deliver in terms of the energy efficiency of their data centres, but praised the efforts of Google, Yahoo and Facebook in this area.
More positively, in June, Hewlett Packard shifted the goal posts further in terms of centre design when it unveiled plans for the world’s first zero carbon data centre.
Last week, a further milestone was reached with respect to the greening of existing data centres in Hong Kong when the NTT Communications Hong Kong Data Centre became the first data centre in the city to achieve LEED Certification for improvements to existing buildings.
Launched in 2009, NTT Communications says its building, which has been awarded LEED Silver Certification in the LEED accreditation for Existing Buildings: Operation & Maintenance category, has achieved an improvement of almost 15 per cent in energy efficiency and reduced carbon emissions.
In particular, the company says significant gains have been achieved in water usage through its use of a Water Cooler Chiller System and additional indoor plumbing fixtures and fittings.
Taylor Man, executive vice president of NTT Com Asia’s New Business Division says that while new buildings are typically designed to meet the latest green construction standards, meeting LEED requirements in terms of operations for existing buildings is challenging because of the volume of supervision and staff training involved.
Man says NTT Communications has adopted a sustainable Integrated Data Centre Management Approach that takes into account all stages of the data centre life cycle and optimises performance for continuous improvement.
Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO & Founding Chair of the U.S. Green Building Council says data centres offer significant potential in terms of sustainable building gains.
“The green building movement offers an unprecedented opportunity to respond to the most important challenges of our time, including global climate change, dependence on non-sustainable and expensive sources of energy and threats to human health,” Fedrizzi says. “The work of innovative building projects such as NTT Communications Hong Kong Data Centre is fundamental to achieving higher environmental standards in the data centre industry and serves as a prime example of how much we can accomplish.”