Digital transformation and automation occurring all around us requires more IT compute capacity which has illicit an increase in the demand for data centers. Data centers have become one of the world’s most valuable resources as they enable e-commerce, cloud computing and remote work and drive the global economy. As data centers help businesses meet growing consumer demand, they render as one of the largest per capita consumers of electric power and currently represent 1-2% of the total global electricity consumption today.
Data center efficiency and sustainability now transcends companies, geographies, and workloads and has become an undeniable business imperative across nearly every industry. With more and more emphasis on sustainability, how can data centers level up?
Powering the Next Generation of Data Centers More Sustainable
Environmental considerations are directly connected with the data center industry as organizations look to reduce their carbon footprint by way of colocation centers and cloud-based technology advancements.
Green data centers are to be built via modular energy efficient data center designs from the onset and adopt the latest in building technology. These data centers will also need to employ innovative energy consumption and production methods including green power, water reclamation, zero water cooling systems, recycling and waste management, upgrade power sources and power grids and more.
To carry on growing, the data center industry will have to turn to green methods of energy consumption and production. Resilient power grids that can deliver green energy and renewable power as well as Innovative cooling and control technologies are critically important.
At Khazna Data Centers, solar PV panels have been installed in the parking lots, LED lightning with motion sensors is used across all facilities which consumes less electricity and generates less heat decreasing the need for air conditioning; pre-cooling and free cooling are relied on whenever the weather conditions allow which contributes to less utilization of chillers hence less carbon emission. Our new design approaches and equipment/technology selections are always analyzed and benchmarked against sustainability goals (SDGs) in a continuous exercise by exploring innovative solutions in every pillar in the data center infrastructure. The new data centers are constructed and certified to Estidama Pearl-4(in AD) and LEED Gold for green buildings.
Khazna is also committed to operating environmentally responsible data centers. We are implementing tactics to bring our data centers to net-zero waste standards and certifications, such as introducing ‘durable first’ approach in the global design standards of our facilities, as well as focusing on preventing waste creation by reducing as much water we generate as possible and then reusing or recycling,
Power consumption is a closely watched indicator of environmental sustainability and for data centers this is typically measured using PUE (Power Usage Efficiency). According to Uptime Institute, the average annualized data center PUE was 1.57 in 2021, a minor improvement over 2020’s average of 1.59 that is consistent with the overall trend of PUE stagnation over the past five years.
At Khazna Data Centers our target annual average PUE less than 1.5 and better water usage efficiency. The cooling system and the critical electrical infrastructure is sized and specified to the best market efficiencies and technologies, while reducing any energy waste at partial loads (VSD compressors, high efficiency UPSs, adiabatic cooling, state of the art centralized monitoring systems, high water temperature chilled water, Lighting control technologies, etc.).
Adapting Sustainability Approaches to Stay in the Game
Meeting the growing demand for computing power and digital services, is only one challenge. Data centers are also expected to do more with less, provide more computing power while using less energy and shrinking their carbon footprint. Following the footsteps of our leadership, the principal motivation behind adopting efficient and sustainable initiatives in Data Centers is to meet stakeholders’ requirements. Customers, users, partners and regulators are all aware of the need seeking out and achieving climate-focused goals.
With local and national governments setting ambitious net zero carbon goals, the push to make data centers greener is gathering pace, driving colocation providers to more sustainable operations.
The main challenge to improving power consumption in the data center is the need to maintain high service reliability and availability. As important as environmental sustainability is to the industry and to regulators, business sustainability is critical as well. Data centers and regulators will have to work together to create measurable goals, support initiatives, and track progress toward objectives.
Khazna Data Centers is aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to achieve a prosperous, inclusive, and sustainable society for all. We are committed to our employees ensuring gender equality, implementing employee wellbeing program, and employing an Emiratization program while ensuring the health and safety of our people as we recorded zero fatalities and employee recordable injuries in 2021. We are also dedicated to the environment and addressing climate change via energy management implementing new cooling technologies, centralized state of the art monitoring systems, AI applications, using TSE (treated sewage effluent), utilizing less water for the cooling systems, applying renewable energy sources where possible and installation of high efficiency equipment.
The Future of Sustainable Data Centers
It is of great importance how the UAE leaders are implementing change to positively impact the community. The future of the planet and our children would be shaped by our capabilities and alignment to sustainability, weather it is engineering, construction, operation, technology or any other industry.
At COP28 the climate change conference that will hosts close to 200 countries in Abu Dhabi next year will work towards finding innovative and creative solutions for a sustainable future. In the UAE, we will have the chance to show the transition that the leaders of this country have undertaken to a future that is fueled by green energy, advanced technologies and innovative solution.
In compliance with this major change that is happening worldwide, driving down energy consumption, decreasing costs and employing advances in cooling and heat management technologies, have shifted the way data centers are being designed, managed, and maintained. Data center operators are looking ahead and investing in ways to make data centers more efficient and sustainable.
As we look to the data centers of the future, operators will need an actionable approach that changes the dynamics of traditional deployment strategies. Data center operators are perfectly placed to take their expertise in connecting the world and translate it into better collaboration within the industry to establish best practices and shared goals. As an emerging and vital sector, sustainability considerations must be placed at the heart of all future advancements in design, construction, infrastructure, technology, operation and services.