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Today’s data centers account for approximately 1% of electricity use worldwide. This energy-intensive enterprise and demand for data storage is not going to slow down, but expand at a quicker pace than ever before. However, the data centers of the future are commited to “going green,” and implementing sustainability initiatives into their growth strategies. Currently, data centers use an estimated 200 terawatt hours each year. In comparison, 200 terawatt hours is more than the national energy consumption of some countries around the world. The energy footprint of cloud computing and data storage that relies on today’s data centers is the driving force enabling a future of “green” data centers. 

The topic of sustainability is inevitable in the data center market. Sustainability is no longer a choice that decision-makers of the industry are faced with, but a shared value. Data center owners, operators and users of digital infrastructure are designing and locating future data centers with sustainability and energy efficiency top of mind. Hyperscalers such as Google, Facebook, and Amazon have strategically located data centers in Sweden, Norway and Denmak for example, to take advantage of the cooler temperatures of the region and access to renewable resources. Reducing energy and water consumption along with lowering the amount of carbon emissions is critical in the future of processing the world’s data traffic.

Hyperscalers and enterprise-level data centers are prioritizing ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) initiatives more than ever before. Microsoft states the company will become  “carbon negative” by 2030. Amazon Web Services committed to use 100% renewable energy by 2025. Google partnered with Sustainable Energy for All and the United Nations in 2021 to launch the 24/7 Carbon-Free Energy Compact, a set of principles that adopt, enable and advance 24/7 carbon-free energy. Currently, data center owners and operators are taking a strong stance when it comes to sustainability, a major competitive advantage in the market and selling point to customers. Today’s stride to energy efficiency and the green data center era include innovative water-cooling solutions, lithium battery technologies, and use of sustainable materials in construction of data center facilities. Data centers are sourcing its energy from renewable sources utilizing solar and wind farm electricity and collaborating closely to local utilities. 

The growth of hyperscale data center facilities requires high capacity with fewer services and efficient cloud infrastructure. As more data is generated, data center providers are taking a forward-thinking approach to find ways to process data with minimal environmental impact. Microsoft’s Project Natick team deployed the Northern Isles Data Center 117 feet deep to the seafloor. The cool subsurface of the sea allows for energy-efficient data center designs, an example of leveraging heat-exchange plumbing. Bluebird Network owns and operates its underground data center, which not only protects customer data from natural and manmade disasters, but provides a constant year round temperature and humidity set point and environmentally friendly closed-loop water cooling system adding zero waste and stress to local water infrastructure.

With the growth of edge computing, 5G, IoT, public cloud and an increase of businesses who need to store their business-critical workloads and applications, the data center industry will continue to boom. Implementing energy saving strategies within the data center landscape is a priority. Setting the foundation for future sustainability goals such as reviewing the facility’s PUE and analyzing power usage in real-time is a step forward in the right direction. Upgrading Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) and Building Management Systems (BMS) will provide the data center with the capacity to monitor the operational efficiency of the data center as well as constructing future data centers to green building construction standards and adhering to LEED Gold specifications

The Independent Data Center Alliance thanks its Founding Members: Bluebird Network, a communications infrastructure provider and data center operator; DataGryd, a data center company that meets the ever-increasing demand for data processing and data storage centers in New York’s urban market; iMiller Public Relations, an industry leading global Public Relations strategy firm for the communications infrastructure and technology industries; and maincubes, a data center operator and an expert in colocation and digitization.

To learn more about the Independent Data Center Alliance and future webinar opportunities, please visit