As companies explore ways to be more environmentally friendly, they often look toward their power consumption and efficiency. Traditional data centers have decreased their energy demand in recent years. However, hyperscalers (large-scale facilities housing 5,000 servers or more) have nearly doubled their energy use. Converting these facilities into green data centers can help businesses decrease operating costs and increase building values.
There are more than 7.2 million data centers globally, and each one uses a significant amount of electricity to keep its equipment running and cooled. Green data centers aim to deliver fast and reliable service at reasonable rates while using natural resources responsibly. To achieve this, sustainable data centers use a number of practices that reduce the hardships imposed on the environment.
From liquid immersion cooling to measuring power usage effectiveness, here are some best practices to consider when creating green data centers.
Find a Green Cooling Solution
Data centers rely on immense amounts of energy—nearly 10% of electricity globally—to run servers and keep equipment cool. However, generating electricity burns through natural resources and emits toxic byproducts into the environment. Demand for data is rapidly increasing amid concern for climate change, so it’s critical to find more efficient cooling technology.
Traditionally, conventional data centers have used chilled air to keep servers cool, and some managers may be hesitant to change. But for green data centers to use less electricity without negatively impacting customers, you need to find a green cooling solution. And as some of the largest data centers have discovered, moving to liquid immersion cooling delivers the results they want..
This is a proven system that can make your facility more eco-friendly. A cooling solution provider such as GRC can help you find environmentally responsible systems. For instance, its green cooling technology is just the solution data centers are looking for.
Should You Measure PUE Only?
An important measure of a data center’s efficiency is its power usage effectiveness (PUE). This industry metric tells you how efficiently the data center uses energy. It is determined by dividing the total amount of electricity going into a data center by the amount of power being used by the IT equipment alone. The closer the number is to 1, the more efficient the data center.
PUE is one way to tell whether your environmental actions are working. For example, if you upgrade from air cooling to GRC’s liquid immersion, you can improve your PUE from 1.35 to an impeccable 1.02. Immersion cooling is more energy efficient and uses a fraction of the electricity required for air cooling.
However, as important as the PUE is, it’s not enough to give you a complete picture of how sustainable the data center is. You should also consider water usage effectiveness (WUE) and carbon usage effectiveness (CUE). In addition, not all servers run productive workloads or shut off when their jobs are done, which wastes energy.
Liquid immersion also improves your CUE and WUE because it requires less carbon and little-to-no water. By expanding your metrics beyond PUE only, you’ll get a more comprehensive picture of how well your green efforts are paying off.
Don’t Fall Into “Greenwashing”
One of the most common pitfalls in sustainability is called greenwashing, and it applies to all industries. Greenwashing is the practice of dishonestly presenting a business as adhering to environmental standards when it does not.
Going green can be a significant investment. In greenwashing, an organization tells people it’s taking environmental measures without actually doing it—so they look good without spending any money. This, of course, is not a best practice in creating green data centers. However, you can take valid environmental measures that cost less than the alternative.
For instance, when you go from air cooling to liquid immersion cooling, you’ll see substantial reductions in capital and operational expenses. Immersion cooling uses less electricity, so your power bill goes down. In addition, immersion cooling works in small spaces, so you’ll also save money on your facility costs.
Finally, governments and utility companies recognize the environmental superiority of liquid immersion cooling, so data centers using this tech can receive grants.
Greenwashing is unfair and unnecessary, and most people can see through it. Instead of deceiving consumers to cut costs, use genuinely green innovations that reduce resource use. GRC offers a line of highly efficient immersion cooling solutions that can make your data center green and save you money the honest way.
Aim to Achieve Sustainability Benchmarks and Certifications
Now that energy efficiency has become an important objective for data center operators, you should aim to meet the criteria for environmental certifications. These ensure your facility meets or exceeds acceptable levels of sustainability while assuring customers of your bona fides.
Several certifications now attest to data centers’ environmental practices. A well-known example is the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification. This globally relevant framework verifies the efficiency of buildings. It covers many categories of structure, including the design and operation of data centers. Your building’s entire life cycle should address the measured elements of sustainability, such as the use of efficient cooling systems and performance monitoring through analytics.
There are many country-specific certifications like BREEAM in the United Kingdom or CASBEE in Japan that, like LEED, measure the sustainability of the whole building. By contrast, some certifications focus exclusively on specific aspects like the water or electricity of a building. Which certification you use depends on what you want to measure and improve.
Certifications are excellent trust badges to prove your sustainability to customers. In addition to certifications, there are benchmarking services that conduct measurements to analyze performance. This can provide useful information for investors or for internal purposes. You can also test whether your facility is ready for the efficiency-oriented Open Compute Project and prepare to use immersion cooling.
Take Your Step Toward Going Green With GRC
Environmental sustainability is an important value for the data center industry to embrace. There are several practical methods to make your site greener, most of which involve improvements to energy efficiency. Cooling is the big expendable draw on data center electricity, so it’s the natural place to start your journey toward sustainability.
GRC’s liquid immersion cooling technology cuts electricity use to a fraction of what conventional data centers need. Immersion also improves other important measures of sustainability, including the amount of carbon and water necessary for operations. As your need for electricity, carbon, and water go down, so do your expenses.
There’s no room for greenwashing in the data center industry, especially when you can rely on immersion cooling to minimize costs, emissions, and waste. Contact GRC today to learn more about creating your own green data center.