Rapidly evolving digital technology is central to society, bringing with it several opportunities, challenges, and criticisms. Sustainability ranks high because of the tech industry’s impact on climate change, electronic waste (e-waste), water waste, and other notable problems. For instance, digital technology consumes great amounts of electricity, and many tech products end up as e-waste.
However, there are steps data centers and tech companies can take to improve sustainability, including the use of immersion cooling. The sooner you invest in sustainable technologies, the more you’ll do for the planet—and for your bottom line. Let’s explore how digital technology impacts the environment and how you can make a difference while saving time and money.
Digital Technology Uses Polluting Electricity
The digital economy is on an unsustainable track to use excessive amounts of electricity. The power sources are often dirty and emit vast amounts of carbon. Data centers alone account for a sizable chunk of total electricity use, although the numerous digital devices used throughout our economy are adding to this disaster.
It takes more electricity to manufacture devices than to use them, and tech manufacturing places a denser demand on the grid than other industries. For example, producing a regular phone emits 55 kilograms of carbon, and the processors behind data centers are far more resource-intensive. In fact, digital technology may account for a fifth of total electricity production in 2025.
While much of this power goes to obvious uses like servers and storage devices, a substantial amount supports tasks like cooling. Air-cooling systems are inefficient and can use a larger share of a data center’s electricity than the IT equipment itself. Therefore, upgrading your data center’s cooling method to liquid immersion is a practical way to improve tech sustainability.
As technology advances, new challenges will arise. For instance, blockchain and the metaverse require more computational and electrical power than predecessor technologies—the cryptocurrency Bitcoin uses as much power as entire countries. Tech companies must start adopting more sustainable practices that use renewable sources of energy.
Technology Produces E-Waste
Digital technology also produces unsustainable amounts of e-waste. While digital products represent only 2% of the products we buy, they are densely packed with toxins and produce 70% of toxic waste. Outdated devices get thrown into landfills and other waste sites, often releasing toxic materials into the environment. Data centers also produce a particularly large amount of e-waste because many of these facilities lack a recycling program.
To minimize e-waste, get the maximum amount of use out of each part. With newer and faster digital devices coming out often, it’s common to replace old parts rather than repair them. However, repairing parts can extend their life and use. You should also take steps during device installation to protect parts. For example, the environmentally friendly cooling oil in liquid immersion systems protects IT infrastructure against corrosion and wear.
Measure the amount of digital products going into your facility against the amount going out for disposal, recycling, and repair. Also, aim to minimize the use of products containing environmentally sensitive materials. Equipment designed from the start to be readily recycled prevents e-waste.
Digital Technology Wastes Water, Minerals, and Land
Using digital tools also wastes scarce natural resources including water, minerals, and land. Water is of utmost concern, with much of its consumption coming from electricity generation. Companies in many industries are starting to pay attention to their water use, and data centers should too—they already use more than half a billion cubic meters of water each year. Finding a system that saves both water and energy is essential.
Liquid immersion removes server heat more efficiently than previous cooling systems and runs servers with fewer resources. Liquid-cooled data centers also use half the electricity of air-cooled ones, eliminating much of the water waste while improving performance. Green Revolution Cooling’s (GRC) liquid immersion can cool even high-density installations without a water chiller, which results in massive water and energy savings.
Land and minerals are also endangered by digital technology. Land is initially mined for minerals used to build digital equipment, but it too is ultimately consumed—data centers need more land as they grow. The e-waste produced often goes back into the land rather than being recycled. Both the mining and disposal of uncommon substances for digital technology can occur under hazardous conditions. Poor countries usually suffer the most.
Instead of degrading the world’s water, land, and minerals, use sustainable technologies like liquid cooling that preserve resources. GRC’s immersion cooling uses less real estate than conventional data centers and contains long-lasting hardware. By upgrading, you’ll be protecting the earth’s scarce assets.
Invest in Environmentally Sustainable Practices Early
Companies should modify their digital behaviors to reduce their unwanted effects on the environment. The sooner you start, the better results you’ll see over the long term. An easy first step is to put environmental responsibility policies in place. These will clearly define your standards and aims and help you track key performance metrics to ensure your policies are working.
Next, show your green credentials by using eco-friendly resources and building to environmental construction standards. For instance, some data centers source their electricity from renewable resources like fuel cells and solar energy, which reduces emissions. Or, you can use energy-efficient products that require fewer resources, such as GRC’s liquid immersion cooling solutions.
Don’t build a data center facility that’s bigger than your needs. Instead, use technologies that meet your current demand and can scale with you as you grow. In addition, recycle the heat produced by servers by redirecting the heat to where it’s needed, such as to warm the building’s air and water.
Finally, you can invest in the newest innovations in battery technology, which are more efficient than older models. This move complements liquid immersion cooling, which has far lighter electrical requirements and therefore cuts back on batteries and emission-producing generators.
Liquid Immersion Cooling Makes Data Centers Sustainable
With digital technology now taking the spotlight for emissions and climate change, it’s time for the data center industry to do its part. Liquid immersion cooling is next-gen cooling technology that submerges servers in an electrically safe fluid.
Immersion uses only 5% of cooling electricity compared to traditional data centers, which instantly eliminates unnecessary resource use and toxic byproducts. It also eliminates half the total electricity used by the data center and cuts out vast amounts of water waste.
GRC’s game-changing solutions improve data centers’ sustainability while reducing costs. For instance, liquid immersion keeps hardware running longer by protecting your electronics. This, in turn, minimizes e-waste, mineral extraction, and disposal into incinerators and other polluting outputs.
Liquid cooling systems also cut electricity and water use tied to global warming, making the cooling solution a favorite among eco-friendly tech companies.
Use Digital Technology Sustainably With GRC
Digital technology isn’t going away, and neither is environmental concern about its effects. Each year data centers take on a more prominent role in the economy, which puts the industry on course for a reckoning with sustainable practices.
There are several ways data centers can become more sustainable, but immersion cooling stands out as the best way to reduce the use of electricity, carbon, water, and other resources. With GRC’s liquid immersion cooling, you can finally use servers, storage, networking, and other digital technologies in a responsible manner. This efficient system cools data centers without the destructive waste of previous cooling methods.
Use this green solution to increase the sustainability and performance of your data center. , to get started.