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A new programme proposes to assess and certify the level of sustainability of datacentres. The aim is to give recognition to organisations that follow best practice in maintaining sustainable operations in these environments using certification based on an assessment framework that makes sustainability quantifiable.
Dubbed DEEP, or Data Center Efficiency Evolution Program, the program is an Informa Tech initiative that gathers and disseminates in-depth, expert information about the Information and Communications Technology industry through forums, events and research. Dozens of industry experts discussed the details of the data center evaluation framework during Data Center World (DCW) 2022, held at the end of March in Texas (USA).
DEEP was first introduced at DCW 2021, but the programme team spent 18 months developing best practices in sustainable data centre operations. One is to facilitate the implementation of sustainability practices for data centre managers. The other is to recognise data centres that are jam employing these sustainable practices through a scoring system that considers much more than just energy use, but also other sources of carbon emissions, water consumption and electronic waste generated.
Over the past few months, the DEEP programme has worked with several leading data centres in the United States to test the assessment framework in practice. Bluebird Networks, Digital Fortress, DC BLOX and Banner Health all have facilities that are now recognised with DEEP certificates, demonstrating having sustainability best practices in these environments.
“It’s important to recognize the good work these companies are doing, In these DEEP certified data centers, we’re seeing facilities that are underground, that use 100% renewable energy, do rainwater harvesting and use outdoor cooling. These are stories and practices that need to be shared, told and praised,” highlights Kevin Kent, Director of DEEP Data Center Assessments.
“We believe DEEP will help us understand where we currently are in terms of industry best practice, identify any gaps we may have or opportunities for improvement in the area of sustainability over time. It will also allow us to create a roadmap for moving forward. Obviously, this is valuable information that we can use to set budgets and programs within the company, but also to communicate to our customers,” Bill Thomson, vice president of product management at DC BLOX, a colocation provider with five facilities in the southeastern United States, explains to the Data Center Knowledge website.
The energy consumed by datacentres is expected to triple over the next decade, further burdening power grids and slowing attempts to reduce carbon emissions, according to Informa Tech.
DEEP’s evaluation framework includes dozens of parameters to score and evaluate data centers on topics such as airflow management, electrical and mechanical systems, and processes, based on analysis of standards and guidelines such as LEED, DoE, BICSI, ASHRAE, AFCOM, and Green Grid. The assessment is done locally and audited by DEEP certification board members. A detailed report with recommendations for improvements will also be presented.
The green data centre market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 7.5% between 2021 and 2027, according to a report by Arizton Advisory and Intelligence. The growth is expected to be driven by the use of ecodiesel generators, natural gas generators, fuel cells and hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) with a focus on sustainability.
Sustainability is being viewed as an important consideration in data centre environments. Initiatives such as Science Based Targets (SBTi), Climate Neutral Data Center Pact, Long Duration Energy Storage (LDES) and RE100 are examples of efforts that are also being employed to drive change in data centers towards more sustainable operations.