Decarbonising Construction Key to Ensuring Data Centre Sector Sustainability

Decarbonising Construction Key to Ensuring Data Centre Sector Sustainability

Pessimism arising from a recent survey of data centre owners and operators about the sector’s sustainability has reaffirmed the need for green practice at all phases of a facility’s lifetime, according to Aggreko.

The Uptime Institute’s recent questioning of 400 global stakeholders over the data centre sector’s sustainability has shown that only 38% of respondents believe the industry’s environmental commitments had proven effective. Similarly, 45% of respondents replied that they had led to few or no reductions in energy use, water use and greenhouse gas emissions.

Faced with these latest industry insights, Billy Durie, Global Sector Head for Data Centres at Aggreko, has suggested that facility construction is also a vital part of reducing the sector’s environmental impact. According to Durie, paying further consideration to this aspect of a facility’s lifetime is key to further reducing carbon emissions during operation.

“The latest Uptime Institute report comes at a time when the industry is under more pressure than ever to decarbonise,” says Durie. “However, despite the right actions being taken insofar as environmental commitments are concerned, the analysis shows more can be done.

“As the data centre market continues to boom, greener IT infrastructure is required to help create a better future. To achieve this, the industry must go beyond day-to-day operations and consider the impact of construction, which can be responsible for a large proportion of any facility’s overall carbon footprint.”

The Institute’s report goes on to say that European respondents felt more could be done to help data centres reduce their environmental impact. According to Durie, industry suppliers in this market will be crucial in helping this sentiment become a reality, especially with the provision of more efficient equipment and greener fuels.

He concludes: “The fact of the matter is that the data centre sector alone cannot achieve the decarbonisation required – the supply chain must take similar action. Aggreko, for instance, has committed to investing c.£30 million in more environmentally-friendly temporary solutions before the end of the year to achieve this aim, as part of our Greener Upgrades initiative.

“Similarly, as far as we are aware we are the only equipment hire company to have carried out independent, verified testing across multiple generator nodes on the use of hydro treated vegetable oil (HVO) as a drop-in fuel, monitoring emissions and impact on efficiency. We are also committed to cutting diesel use for our customers and reducing local air quality emissions by 50% within 10 years. As all companies work towards carbon neutrality by 2050, actions such as these will be key to turning around industry sentiment from the negativity seen in this latest Uptime Institute report.”

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