Green Data Center is the new term for a data center that uses energy-saving features and is environmentally responsible. Green data centers use less energy than conventional data centers, resulting in lower power and cooling costs.
What is a Green Data Center?
The green data center is a concept explored and discussed in the IT industry. The green data center concept is about creating a sustainable data center that does not contribute to the planet’s carbon footprint.
The term “green” itself means that there is an effort made by these data centers to better their efficiency and reduce the amount of electricity they use. This can take many forms and often involves software on physical devices that collect or process data.
A data center can be thought of as a building or room where all the systems required to run to manage an IT infrastructure are kept, including:
- Storage devices,
- Networking equipment,
- Power supplies, and
- Cooling systems.
All of these elements are required to ensure that the IT systems are able to function reliably; this includes maintaining optimal temperatures in which to operate.
With the ever-increasing demand for data center space, it is becoming increasingly important to not only be able to turn out more efficient hardware quickly but also to be able to prove and publicize how efficient the operation of these data centers is. Newer data centers are beginning to look at ways they can use existing technology in new ways or better ways to cut down on overall power costs.
The Important of Green Data Centers
It’s no secret that data centers can be significant sources of carbon emissions. A study by Carnegie Mellon University in partnership with Intel and the Environmental Protection Agency found that data centers account for about 2% of the world’s total carbon emissions and about half of their overall carbon footprint. The study found that the United States is home to more than one-third of the globe’s data centers, and those centers are responsible for upwards of 1.5% of the United States overall carbon emissions.
Green data center is a much-talked-about topic in the IT world. The reason is simple – it is important. Green data centers are about reducing overall costs and greening our environment.
The idea behind green data centers is simple – instead of wasting resources on making your data center look good, make it function better and reduce resource consumption and waste generated. More efficient use of resources will translate into cost savings, which can be passed on to customers or used to pay for better resources, thus improving the overall functioning of the data center and increasing performance.
Green data centers have a very small or no carbon footprint. Not only will this reduce the amount of carbon dioxide being released into the environment, but it will also help you to save money on your annual electricity bill. Having an environmentally friendly data center can be very beneficial for your business. It will help you to stand out from your competitors and make you look like a more reliable company that takes care of the environment and its customers.
Although plenty of research has been dedicated to developing new ways to improve the efficiency of existing data centers, there has also been increased interest in creating green-friendly data centers. Some countries have even begun incentivizing organizations to build green data centers to protect better and preserve the environment.
Green Data Center Focus Areas
Green Data Centers focus on reducing power consumption without affecting performance or functionality. They avoid using energy-intensive cooling by using evaporative cooling systems, which only require fresh air to function and generate no new carbon emissions. Green Data Centers also use renewable energy sources such as solar or wind power to offset their dependence on the grid and reduce carbon emissions further.
The IT industry needs to focus on various green data center focus areas to make data centers energy efficient. The primary focus areas for green data centers are those that directly impact power consumption. The power and cooling infrastructure is typically the most extensive and expensive piece of the data center architecture.
These areas include:
- Space utilization can be significantly improved by implementing high-density racks, which maximize rack space utilization, thereby reducing energy and cooling needs.
- Energy management solutions are available to help monitor, control, and optimize power usage and energy costs at every level of the facility stack.
- Data center infrastructure management (DCIM) solutions can provide a single interface for real-time facility status, monitoring environmental factors such as temperature and humidity, tracking assets using RFID tags, and monitoring power usage throughout the data center.
The other considerations go well beyond just the physical aspects of the facility and include but are not limited to the following:
- Environmentally friendly construction materials.
- Reducing carbon emissions, both on-site and across the supply chain.
- Monitoring and measuring temperature and humidity .levels, including regulating them as needed.
- Cleaning air filters and purifying water systems regularly.
- Upgrading servers and hard drives regularly to maximize efficiency.
- Minimizing paperwork by using tracking systems that don’t use paper.
- Reusing or recycling anything possible (including any IT equipment that is no longer usable).
This has proven to be a valuable pursuit, with companies seeing as much as a 30 percent reduction in their energy bills. But according to an Emerson Network Power survey, a new focus is starting to emerge- namely, looking at the data center equipment itself.
The role of green data centers in supporting sustainability
With that goal in mind, let’s look at how green data centers are helping us achieve it. Green data center cooling efficiency is a significant issue in achieving sustainability in our IT industry: according to Gartner Research, 68% of all data centers use chillers for cooling, accounting for about 50% of their total energy usage.
Green data center operations are crucial to the future of our planet’s sustainability. It can help reduce energy spend and carbon emissions, improve water efficiency, and preserve natural resources. Every aspect of a data center operation has the potential to be green.
Data centers consume enormous amounts of energy and need to be constructed with energy efficiency in mind. Because of this, companies are beginning to view their data centers as a source of sustainability rather than simply a place that houses servers, computers, and other IT equipment.
The transformation from “green” to “sustainable” will take some time, but it has already made huge strides thanks to increased awareness about how important it is for data centers to reduce their energy consumption and carbon footprint. The ultimate goal will be a completely sustainable data center.
The end user perspective and impact
When we talk about the role of data centers in supporting sustainable practices, it’s not just a matter of what’s best for the environment—it’s also what’s best for businesses and people.
There is much confusion in the field as to what exactly “green” means and how it can be used to help differentiate your company from others. It is important to remember that there are two sides to green data centers: the end-user perspective and the infrastructure perspective.
The end-user perspective is the most important reason that the data centers require serious investment in sustainability. Customers are demanding more transparency and better answers regarding the energy usage of their services, and they will ‘punish’ providers that don’t meet their expectations.
“Green data center delivers real value to IT organizations.”
However, green data centers mean something completely different from a company’s perspective. For them, it’s about having sustainable practices for the infrastructure—ensuring that all components have been recycled or reused and everything is done in an environmentally responsible manner.
The need for more data centers grows as the world becomes more interconnected. It is estimated that the number of data centers will double by 2022. However, these centers have their drawbacks. They can be an excessive consumer of power and a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions.
Data center efficiency is one of our most important sustainability issues. The growth of these facilities in recent years has been astronomical, giving us more power than ever before—but at a cost to the environment. Green data centers make use of sustainable energy sources. They also adhere to best practices for development, construction, and maintenance. By doing so, they’re making a difference for their customers and the environment.
This part is an important segment of the green technology movement. As the demand for more energy-efficient, sustainable and reliable technology grows, the data center has become a focal point for green design and construction.
Green data centers are becoming a reality—and with good reason. Implementing green measures in your data center can lower power costs, reduce the carbon footprint of your infrastructure, and protect the environment. Still, making the switch isn’t an overnight process. Several focus areas should be addressed before you claim your data center is running on 100% renewable energy.