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Eco-friendly Data Centres for Sustainable Enterprise

Network servers in a data center. Swallow depth of Field

Sustainability is top of mind in general, but eco-friendly data centres will be a key trend to watch in 2022. Efforts to make data centres sustainable are not new, but they have moved into the spotlight. The younger generation wants to do business with companies that are more eco-friendly and sustainable.

Several data centre vendors have been looking at ways to use liquid cooling and immersion, and water, solar and other renewable resources. Enterprises have some sustainable goals or matrices they want to achieve because enterprises themselves need to be sustainable.

If enterprises are looking to be more sustainable and those competitions are guided by how ecofriendly they are or how sustainable or how carbon-neutral they can become, they are going to put the same constraints on where they are buying their resources.

Another growing approach is a modular design in which data centres start physically smaller and increase in size based on need, rather than starting as a 200,000-square-foot place at once. The great thing about these modular designs is that they work well for modernising a data centre. That means retrofitting the buildings to be greener rather than constructing new ones, which brings its own environmental concerns.

A tech company that provides critical digital infrastructure and continuity solutions, identified other strategies in its list of data centre trends to watch next year. For instance, it predicts that organisations will use a digital solution that matches energy use with 100% renewable energy and operates on round-the-clock sustainable energy.

Fuel cells, renewable assets and long-duration energy storage systems, including battery energy storage systems (BESS) and lithium-ion batteries, all will play a vital role in providing sustainable, resilient and reliable outcomes. Thermal systems that use zero water are in demand, and we will see refrigerants with high Global Warming Potential (GWP) phased down in favour of low-GWP refrigerants.

Organisations are becoming more thoughtful about the physical location of data centres in an effort to avoid areas prone to extreme weather. Other factors, including the availability of water and renewable and locally generated sustainable energy, are also coming into play.

Although there are some sustainable data centre efforts afoot, the regulation would help. Tech companies each have their own data centre sustainability goals, but they’re not consistent or cohesive, so there is no way to measure the efficiency.

In the U.S., the Energy Department’s Federal Energy Management Program helps agencies construct and maintain energy-efficient data centres by providing resources. A search of FEMP’s case studies results in 13 related to data centres.  The U.S. government needs to change the way to measure our sustainability and these changes must be industrywide. The government can play a role in promoting that.

As reported by OpenGov Asia, a new report found that four out of five local government officials in the U.S. say they have improved their use of data in the past six years to drive better outcomes for residents. Two key areas that have seen improvement are performance management and taking action, according to “Closing the Data Gap: How Cities Are Delivering Better Results for Residents. The report is based on a survey of 44 officials in the What Works Cities (WWC) network, an initiative to increase cities’ use of data.

Since then, the number of cities monitoring and analysing their progress toward key goals more than doubled from 30% to 75%, and the percentage of cities modifying existing programs based on data analytics went from 20% to 61%. City leaders and staff are moving beyond old practices based on precedent or instinct. Instead, they are using data to make more effective operational, programmatic and policy decisions. Residents are reaping real benefits, from improved services to greater visibility into how their local government works.

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