Today data centers have become the digital factories of the future. These mission-critical infrastructure facilities are essential to every facet in our digitized lives, providing instant access to the applications, streaming services, and the digital brands and businesses we interact with millions of times each day.
According to an article published in Science Magazine, data centers account for 1% of global energy use. As our reliance on these serverfarms increases, and they grow in both size and number, it’s crucial that operators find a means to balance performance and efficiency for an environmentally sustainable outcome.
Key to accomplishing this is reducing data center energy consumption, lowering Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE), and ultimately building a strategy that decreases carbon emissions. However, it’s not always as simple as it seems.
The first challenge is PUE, and according to the Uptime Institute, in 2020 the average data center PUE was 1.58, only marginally better than seven years ago. Bearing in mind that this figure includes the many modern, ultra-efficient and truly sustainable data centers built by members of the hyperscale and colocation communities, there remains many legacy facilities operating at a PUE of 2.0 or more. Regardless of the demands being placed on them, in the age of digitization, this is unacceptable.
Today many legacy operators have no insight into their infrastructure environment, and cannot tell how efficiently the system is operating. In an effort to cool their equipment effectively, the cooling architecture may be running at maximum capacity, while wasting energy and outputting significant amounts of carbon dioxide.
Rack and power densities are increasing at a dramatic rate. More businesses are leveraging HPC and AI technologies, which places increased demands on data centers from a performance, power, and cooling perspective. According to the 2020 State of the Data Center Report, the average rack density increased to 8.2 kW per rack, up from 7.3 kW compared to 2019.
New data centers, therefore, need to be designed for sustainable operations, but be flexible to accommodate the needs of GPUs, chip, and processor power. While legacy facilities must be modernized, or become more efficient, in order to reduce operating expenditure (OpEx), energy consumption and CO2.
Data center owners and operators faced with the challenge of improving the sustainability of their facilities need to have a mix of short, medium, and long-term strategies in place. In Europe especially, legacy facilities have a key role to play in delivering carbon neutral data center objectives.
The good news is that there’s an incredibly easy, cost-effective, and simple, three-stage approach, which will improve the sustainability of your data center. One that will give you an average PUE reduction of 0.4.
Firstly, assess your environment and utilize computational fluid dynamics (CFD) software to help identify inefficiencies within your system. This might include hotspots, poor airflow and/or inefficient rack configurations.
Secondly, optimize your existing infrastructure and partner with best-in-class, global engineering experts to optimize your existing data center footprint. Here simple steps may include consolidating mission-critical infrastructure systems into a smaller footprint, increasing densities, and improving cooling or airflows to the racks and cabinets.
Thirdly, drive data center performance through a comprehensive and bespoke modernization program. This may mean you can retrofit or re-design the space with a new containment architecture, which will pay for itself via energy savings within the first year of deployment.
Taking Subzero’s approach has been proven to help operators achieve increased rack densities, optimized performance, and greater energy efficiency alongside reduced OpEx and lower CO2.
It truly enables end-users to achieve the perfect balance of performance sustainability, but the proof is in the data.
At Subzero Engineering, we like to keep a live record of the savings we are achieving for our customers.
To-date we’re proud to have achieved:
• Total energy savings: +$332M
• H2O savings (gallons): +1.5BN
• CO2 reductions (tons): +3M
These savings represent a long list of data center owners and operators who have engaged with us and seen the benefits that a strategic focus on performance and sustainability can bring.
The road to sustainability is long, and not always this simple, which is why Subzero Engineering offers a consultative approach that delivers a unique outcome aligned with your business objectives.
We believe it all starts with the data and a free Environmental Impact Evaluation (CFD) is a great place to start.
A CFD ALLOWS YOU TO QUICKLY UNDERSTAND:
THE STATUS of your operating environment
WHERE impactful improvements to your data center sustainability can be made