For a long-time energy efficiency has been extremely important in the data centre, initially this was really about cost, but over time has moved to more of a position of being a responsible ‘citizen’.  It helps to reduce the impacts of climate change and meet the sustainability goals that have become such an important discussion point in the boardroom.  More than ever before, customers whether B2B or B2C will make their purchasing decisions based on the environmental and sustainability credentials of a supplier.

Quite often, it is considered a job done once M&E equipment has been updated, servers optimised, preventative maintenance in place and environmental monitoring working well.  These are important components, but there is something else that organisations can do, and is often overlooked….

Where and how is your energy supply generated?

Now we are not suggesting that you should erect giant wind turbines in the car park, or cover the roof of the data centre in solar panels – although depending on your circumstances there could be an argument for both – but you should look at what your energy supplier is doing.

The UK government has made clear indications that renewable energy is critical component of the UK’s energy make-up in the future.  In October 2020, it announced that by 2030 it intended offshore wind to produce enough electricity to power every home in the country.  Currently, the UK has the largest installed capacity of offshore wind in the world, with around 10GW in operation off its coasts.  If you have a few moments to spare take a look at Drax Electric Insights dashboard which has a fantastic easy to use tool that shows you where UK energy is coming from over time, the demand, and how supply breaks down.  Looking at the average for the last 12 months, only 1.3% came from coal, with gas, wind and nuclear taking the top 3 spots.

We’d encourage every data centre manager to speak with their estates team, and start to understand the make-up of their electricity suppliers sources.  Cost may be a factor, but there is also a greater cost to consider, if we don’t take the action needed to reduce the carbon impact of our data centres as much as possible.