As the demand for information increases, more data centers are coming online to support the infrastructure, but this might not be good for the environment. The green data center concept is a great way around this problem.
A new wave of data centers is changing the way we think about electricity and, with it, our world. These so-called green data centers aren’t just using renewable energy, such as solar power or wind farms; they’re innovating ways to use electricity more efficiently.
Green Data Center Concept
These state-of-the-art data centers are revolutionizing how we think about our environment and our energy dependence. They’re showing us that significant changes are possible. With an eye toward innovation, we can continue to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels for years to come.
In the future, data centers will be more sustainable and efficient. This will be achieved by using green technologies and incorporating them into the design of data centers.
The green data center concept includes a series of technologies that reduce the amount of energy consumed by the data center, improve efficiency, reduce carbon emissions and improve the overall environmental impact of the facility.
By incorporating green data center design principles into their facility designs, data center owners can reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions. The following design elements can help reduce a data center’s environmental impact.
Three criteria for a green data center
The Green Grid, a nonprofit organization that works toward a more sustainable future by improving the energy efficiency of data centers, has identified three criteria for a green data center:
- Optimize energy efficiency and usage. Use best practices, technologies, and strategies to reduce energy consumption and carbon footprint.
- Minimize environmental impact. Minimize waste and conserve water by integrating conservation into operations and maintenance plans.
- Maximize renewable power usage. Increase the use of renewable energy resources to reduce carbon emissions from the electricity grid.
Data center managers need to consider how much energy is consumed and where it’s coming from.
For example, some data centers are powered by coal-fired plants that produce greenhouse gases and other pollutants. A “greener data center” option would be to use cleaner energy sources such as solar or wind power.
Green Data Center Design Checklist
When designing a data center, there are many factors to consider. Before you start building, it’s essential to understand what your business needs and the size of your operation.
Green data center innovation is changing the way that people see the industry. It’s not just about having a green rack or using less energy. It’s about using technology in innovative ways to do things that have never been done before. The new technology can make data centers greener than ever without sacrificing their power and capacity.
You must also be aware of the industry standards to ensure that your facility is up to code and meets all requirements.
The first step in creating a more efficient data center is to determine the size of your facility. This involves assessing how much power and cooling is required for your IT equipment and the number of people who will be using the space. The right-sized facility will reduce costs by eliminating excess capacity and using available space better.
Follow this checklist
The following are some considerations when determining how much square footage you need:
- Determine the number of racks based on rack height and power per square foot requirements.
- Determine if raised flooring is needed or if standard flooring will suffice for cabling (e.g., conduit vs. riser cable).
- Calculate square footage based on rack density, cable management systems, and other elements that affect physical space requirements (e.g., HVAC systems).
- Calculate square footage based on cubic feet per person (e.g., 5 ft x 10 ft x 10 ft = 500 cu ft per person).
Data centers can be incredibly complex to design and build. But if you follow these steps, you’ll be well on your way to a successful project.
- Understand your business requirements
- Define the scope of your project
- Identify your key stakeholders
- Choose the right location for your data center
- Plan for physical security at the site
- Take advantage of local tax incentives and rebates
- Select an appropriate facility management provider
This helps determine if you have enough room for people, equipment, and pathways between racks or cabinets:
- Power distribution
- Cooling systems
- Redundant power supply
- Data center infrastructure design checklist
- Considerations for emergency power systems
Green Data Center Certifications
The Green Grid is a nonprofit organization that promotes energy efficiency in data centers. It has created several certifications for organizations that want to be recognized for their efforts.
The Green Grid’s Energy Efficiency Policy (EEP) certification is the first step toward establishing a baseline level of energy efficiency in your data center. To receive this certification, you must meet certain minimum requirements, such as having an energy policy and measuring your facility’s power usage.
After obtaining EEP certification, you can apply for the more advanced Tier 1 Gold or Silver level certifications. These two levels are based on specific metrics: power usage effectiveness (PUE) and total cost of ownership (TCO). The lower your PUE or TCO scores, the higher your Tier 1 certification will be.
Uptime Institute’s Tier Certification Program
The Uptime Institute’s certification program provides a way for data centers to demonstrate their compliance with various criteria, including energy efficiency, power availability, and uptime.
There are four tiers in total — from tier I through tier IV (99.999% availability).
Green Data Center Examples
The world’s largest data center, located in the suburbs of New Jersey and powering the likes of Netflix and Microsoft, is a shining example of what’s possible with intelligent design.
Instead of using regular air conditioning units to cool the facility, this data center has been designed to pull cold air from outside through large open spaces in a circular shape at the top of the building.
The temperature inside is regulated by pulling cold air through a series of vents on one side of the structure and pushing warm air out through vents on the opposite side.
A single unit can handle up to 20 megawatts of power—enough to keep millions of Americans streaming Netflix at any given time.
In addition to this example, many companies have made commitments and investments to build greener data centers.
Investing in a Green Data Center
Green data centers are designed to have lower power and cooling requirements and less water than traditional facilities. They also include design features that help improve efficiency, reduce waste, and leverage natural resources.
The Green Data Center market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 15% during the forecast period in 2021, with a market size of USD 45 billion.
The increasing demand for green data centers is driven by factors such as rising environmental concerns, increasing cost of electricity, and growing focus on sustainability.
While the green data center solutions market will continue to grow, specific challenges may hinder its growth, such as the lack of skilled professionals and the high cost associated with implementing green data center solutions.
The question of how to build a green data center is more complex than it might initially seem.