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Green data centres: Efforts to push sustainable IT developments

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The digital landscape’s rapid expansion has driven a significant need for data storage and processing capabilities. Increasing environmental awareness within local communities and governments has compelled data centre providers to explore eco-friendly alternatives for minimising energy consumption and environmental impact. Encouragingly, such alternatives are readily accessible, and many providers are actively adopting them.

A global challenge: Data centres’ energy consumption

At present, data centres consume a considerable portion of the world’s energy resources, with the potential to escalate to 8% of global power production as digital transformation initiatives advance. They currently account for 1.3% of the world’s total electricity consumption. The recent United Nations climate change report underscores the critical necessity of limiting global warming to no more than 1.5°C. According to the latest findings from the European Commission, the information and communication sector is projected to contribute as much as 3.9 per cent of global emissions.

To address the burgeoning demand for environmentally sustainable solutions, the focus on Green Data Centres has gained momentum. These data centres aim to mitigate the ecological footprint of the IT sector, making it imperative for companies to embrace eco-friendly or “green” data centre practices.

Driving sustainability in IT: The Green Data Centres Movement

In our digital age, we need more and more data storage and processing. However, this increased demand for data is also raising concerns about using too much energy and causing harm to the environment. Data centre providers are now looking for greener alternatives to reduce their energy use and environmental impact. The good news is that such alternatives already exist, and many providers are starting to use them. Data centres are vital for modern businesses, but they consume a lot of energy and contribute to greenhouse gas emissions.

These eco-friendly data centres are not just a buzzword; they’re a vital stride towards a more sustainable digital future. By adopting energy-efficient technologies and renewable energy sources, they’re not only reducing operational costs but also significantly curbing greenhouse gas emissions. They lead the way in mitigating the environmental impact of data centres and inspiring other industries to embrace sustainability. Green Data Centres are not just a choice; they’re an imperative step towards building a greener, more responsible IT infrastructure that benefits both businesses and the environment.

They cater to modern business needs while simultaneously reducing energy usage, cutting greenhouse gas emissions, and lowering operational expenses, they significantly reduce energy consumption through advanced server optimisation and energy-efficient hardware. These data centres embrace renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power and prioritise responsible waste management. Innovative cooling technologies, strategic designs and government policies enhance energy efficiency.

Green data centres, financial and environmental impact
Green data centres are spearheading a transformative wave in the IT industry, bringing substantial benefits to both businesses and the environment. From a financial perspective, these eco-conscious facilities deliver remarkable cost savings. By leveraging energy-efficient technologies and renewable energy sources, companies can significantly reduce operational expenses. Innovative solutions like data reduction technology and automated resource optimisation further bolster these financial advantages.

However, the influence of green data centres extends far beyond financial gains. They play a pivotal role in mitigating greenhouse gas emissions, actively contributing to the fight against climate change. As data centres and communication sectors are anticipated to account for up to 3.9% of global emissions, the adoption of renewable energy sources and energy-efficient practices dramatically reduces their carbon footprint. In doing so, green data centres are setting a commendable example for other industries, driving the broader adoption of sustainable practices. In essence, they are not only beneficial for individual businesses but also offer a promising future for a more environmentally responsible and sustainable world.

Data centres at the forefront of sustainability

Data centres are spearheading sustainability initiatives, with companies in the data centres industry intensifying their commitment to environmental responsibility. This is achieved through innovative design, the integration of renewable energy sources, infrastructure improvements for superior waste management, and the optimisation of energy consumption.

In acknowledgement of their significant energy consumption and environmental impact, numerous data centre operators are taking proactive measures to diminish their carbon footprint. Through innovations in energy-efficient technologies, the adoption of renewable energy sources, and enhanced cooling methods, data centres are setting an example for other industries to follow. Their commitment to sustainability not only mitigates their environmental impact but also paves the way for a more environmentally responsible and sustainable future.

Vikas Sharma, the CIO at Aditya Birla Group, emphasised the crucial importance of green data centres in today’s context. As the world’s demand for computing power continues to grow exponentially, it is imperative that energy efficiency keeps pace with this expansion to promote a more environmentally friendly planet. The ultimate goal is to achieve net zero Carbon emissions, but, at the very least, striving for Carbon neutrality should be a fundamental guiding principle.

Lalit Trivedi, Head of Information Security (Global) at FlexM, elucidates, “Green Data Centre is the future of the IT and data centre world. In a world increasingly concerned with global warming, Green Data Centres can actively contribute to mitigating its impact. Data centres and data transmission networks are responsible for nearly 1.5% of energy-related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, which contribute to rising global temperatures and climate change.”

Green data centres boast a significantly reduced carbon footprint, rendering them a more eco-friendly solution. Their adoption by organisations can lessen the environmental impact and foster a more sustainable future. Given the extensive energy consumption of data centres, the utilisation of renewable energy sources like solar, wind, and hydropower can significantly reduce their carbon footprint and operational expenses. The implementation of data centre automation aids in resource optimisation, reduces human errors and enhances efficiency.

Hemant Tiwari, Managing Director of Hitachi Vantara India, emphasises the importance of green data centres: “Green data centres optimise energy use through efficient hardware and renewable sources. They address the urgent need to limit global warming, with the information and communication sectors contributing up to 3.9% of global emissions. Innovative solutions, like data reduction technology, can reduce electricity consumption by 65%, directly lowering CO2 emissions.”

Furthermore, Hitachi Vantara offers interactive tools, including a CO2 estimator, that empower organisations to assess their data centre’s carbon footprint and identify energy-saving measures without compromising storage requirements. This ongoing commitment to improvement enables organisations to reduce their carbon footprint while maintaining performance. Hitachi Vantara’s approach is aligned with their commitment to environmental and societal well-being.

Suman Bannerjee, the CIO at Hedonova, highlighted the numerous advantages of sustainable data centres. These benefits range from decreased energy usage and financial savings to enhanced reliability and scalability. Sustainable data centres not only enable organisations to adopt a more eco-friendly approach but also guarantee data availability and contribute positively to the environment. Embracing green data centres is a mutually beneficial choice for all stakeholders.

Achieving eco-friendly data centres demands unwavering dedication and ongoing innovation. While commendable progress has been made, the key challenge is finding a balance between the growing need for data processing and environmental responsibility. In an increasingly interconnected world driven by advancing technology, data centres play a vital role. Green data centres, committed to renewable energy, improved efficiency, and innovative cooling solutions, are crucial in reducing their environmental impact. Collaborative efforts involving data centre operators, governments, and industry associations are fostering sustainable practices. Envisioning data centres as environmental leaders are crucial for a greener and more sustainable future, benefiting both businesses and the planet.

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