Reducing Emissions in Data Centers as a Today Top Priority

Jan 6, 2023 | Environment

Reducing emissions in data centers is a top priority for companies today. According to one survey, more than 80% of businesses consider their data center’s energy consumption a critical factor in their business growth. Some companies are even ready to pay extra money if their data centers are energy-efficient.

In addition, reducing data center emissions is crucial for our planet’s survival. The amount of carbon dioxide emissions released by the industry is already more extensive than that of all the cars and trucks in the world! Fortunately, the problem can be solved with just a little bit of creativity and innovation.

Why Reducing Emissions in Data Centers should be a Top Priority?

As the world’s population grows, the need for more data storage and processing power to support commerce, education, and entertainment increases exponentially. The demand for electricity to power these systems is increasing at an alarming rate. In many areas of the world, electricity is produced in ways that are harmful to the environment and contribute significantly to global warming. Data centers are one of the fastest-growing sources of greenhouse gases and other pollutants.

Data centers consume about 1% of the world’s electricity and produce about 2% of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions. Reducing these numbers is a slow process, as it requires significant changes to infrastructure that may take time to be available or cost-effective.

Half of all data centers are located in regions that use coal-fueled power plants (as opposed to natural gas or renewables). The pollution generated by these plants contributes significantly to climate change and public health issues like asthma and lung disease.

If we just let it go, then, of course, environmental damage will occur as a result of the carbon emission footprint generated by the data center. This is the main reason why reducing emissions in data centers should be our top priority.

About Greenhouse Gas Emissions

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, greenhouse gas emissions are the leading contributor to climate change, threatening our environment, public health, and economy. To minimize the impact of greenhouse gases on our world, we must first understand how they affect us.

While these gases all trap heat in our atmosphere to varying degrees, CO2 is considered the most prominent contributor to rising global temperatures. Therefore, we should focus on reducing CO2 emissions as much as possible to mitigate its effect on global warming.

Data Center Carbon Footprint

As data centers become more essential to our lives, reducing their carbon footprint becomes increasingly urgent. While it’s true that data centers are responsible for only 1% of total energy consumption in the U.S., that still needs to be reduced. Data centers can be carbon-neutralized with relatively little effort and without adding very much in terms of cost.

Over the past decade, increased consumer use has driven the growth in data center usage. Without the ability to meet consumer demands at a low cost, many companies would be limited in their ability to compete within their respective market.

The massive amount of electricity used in data centers has been linked to the need for more coal-fired power plants. These facilities are also significant sources of carbon dioxide emissions. In addition, the servers and other hardware inside these data centers produce massive amounts of heat that require lots of energy and water to cool them down.

Data Centers Need More Efficiency

Energy consumption in data centers has been rising exponentially, and many companies worry that this trend is sustainable. Some reasons for this increase include increased end-user expectations from a growing digital world and the need for higher availability and redundancy as more business processes move online.

It is estimated that 40% of a data center’s cost is related to cooling and power needs. While this may not seem like a significant percentage of the overall budget, it can be reduced if there is increased efficiency in this area. We need to find new methods to make these facilities more energy efficient to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels while also increasing cost efficiency.

Steps to Reduce Data Centers’ Carbon Footprint

As we knew, data centers contribute 2% of total carbon emissions globally. A temperature increase of 1 degree Celsius has occurred. We have seen extreme climate change in all parts of the world. Floods, forest fires, and so on have filled the daily news. Reducing the data center’s carbon footprint is increasingly becoming a priority today.

Here are some ways data centers can reduce their carbon footprint and be more sustainable.

Eco-Friendly Building

The construction of green data centers focuses on energy efficiency by using recycled building materials, energy-efficient components, and energy management systems within the facility.

Green building design is frequently limited to LEED certification, which addresses numerous aspects of environmentally-friendly construction. Including an air circulation system that can increase temperature stability at specific temperatures is essential in data center buildings.

The data center must also be able to prepare space for storing renewable energy batteries. The comfort of working employees is essential, but their health is more important. Especially for data centers that still use electricity from fossils, they must start preparing a particular area for storing renewable energy batteries.

Read more: Building Green Data Center Must Consider These Things.

Energy Source Strategy

As in Indonesia, renewable electricity is still rare as one of the strategies for data centers to reduce their carbon emissions is to use electricity that comes from cleaner energy sources.

Coal and high-speed diesel have nearly 100% carbon emissions. Liquefied gas for power generation, if used as the primary source of electricity for the data center, can reduce carbon emissions by up to 50%. Then, the data center must also provide backup energy using batteries sourced from renewable energy.

For example, a data center with a capacity of 10 MW must provide as many batteries as the total capacity x how many days it can last. This is very important, considering that data centers carry out critical missions that must be reliable in the event of a disaster or at least to reduce downtime.

Read more: Green Energy Data Center Can be Achieved with This Steps.

Efficient Power Usage

In addition, consider implementing energy-efficient technologies such as variable frequency drives, which regulate electricity flow to air handlers, pumps, and other equipment. VFDs allow automatic motor speed adjustment in response to temperature, humidity, and airflow changes. They can help save on energy costs by reducing the amount of electricity necessary to operate a facility by up to 50 percent.

Read more: Energy Efficiency to Consider in a Green Data Center.

 Efficient Hardware

To be efficient, any size data center must utilize technology designed to maximize efficiency. Efficient hardware comes in all shapes and sizes, and choosing the proper hardware for your data center is critical in reducing energy costs.

The efficiency of the hardware you choose depends on the power usage effectiveness (PUE), calculated by dividing the total amount of electricity used in a facility by the power consumed by IT equipment within that facility.

Direct your IT staff to keep an eye on upcoming industry trends. When you know that new servers will be needed in six months, begin collecting bids from local vendors now so you can decide when the time comes. This strategy could save you as much as 30% on equipment costs by getting your bids early and buying from a supplier anticipating your needs.

 Monitoring Software

Efficient power usage is a goal for all data centers. It sounds simple, but the problem is that many companies need to take adequate steps. The truth is that many simple changes can help a business establish strong energy efficiency. This tool can be accomplished by utilizing power monitoring devices or creating a comprehensive energy audit.

Monitoring software collects information about power usage, temperature, cooling systems, and more, then presents it in a way that allows us to see where we have room for improvement. The best power usage management software can help data center managers avoid costly problems like brownouts and power surges, particularly in areas where electricity may be less reliable or more expensive.

 Encourage Tenants Using Virtualization

Encourage your tenants to use virtualization so that the physical space their machines take up is minimized and also can run multiple things simultaneously.

There are plenty of benefits for companies using virtualized machines rather than physical ones. First, there’s a price: if your tenant owns a physical server and has it running at 50% capacity, they need to pay for that unused space. Not only is this expensive from a hardware perspective, but it also means they’re paying for more power and cooling that they aren’t using and may not ever need. Virtualization allows the tenant to consolidate multiple servers onto one machine, which means they can save on hardware costs.


Data centers are a significant source of carbon emissions, and many companies and governments have slowly reduced their emissions. The time to act is now to avoid the worst-case scenario.

The good news is that companies implementing these solutions in reducing emissions in data centers may saved significant energy costs while keeping their server rooms at optimal temperatures.

The business must build a data center sustainably for three main reasons: energy efficiency, cost savings, and environmental responsibility. The key to building a green data center is using sustainable practices in its design and construction.

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