Customer Focus on Energy Efficiency Driving Green Data Center Market

Oct. 2, 2017
The global green data center market, with Europe and the U.S. historically leading it, is expected to reach or exceed $55 billion by 2021. Aaron Binkley, Director of Sustainability Programs at Digital Realty, discusses how a growing customer focus on energy efficiency is driving the “green” data center market. 

In this week’s Voices of the Industry, Aaron Binkley, Director of Sustainability Programs at Digital Realty, discusses how a growing customer focus on energy efficiency is driving the “green” data center market. 

Aaron Binkley, Director of Sustainability Programs at Digital Realty

Enterprises depend on data for competitive advantage, This is driving increased demand for data storage, which is resulting in continuous expansion of the global datacenter market. The global data center construction market will grow from $14.59bn in 201­4 to $22.73bn by 2019, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 9.3% according to a new report from research firm Research and Markets.

Many of these organizations are also becoming more concerned about data centers’ power usage and carbon footprint.  The global green data center market, with Europe and the U.S. historically leading it, is expected to reach or exceed $55 billion by 2021, growing an overall CAGR of 14 percent according to an assessment by Technavio. This focus on energy and carbon emissions is exemplified by several green initiatives, such as the Better Buildings Challenge, an initiative of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) designed to improve energy performance of the data center industry by driving leadership in energy innovation. As a participant in the program, Digital Realty achieved its 20 percent energy savings goal seven years ahead of schedule.

Digital Realty is striving to do its part to enable energy efficiency by accommodating evolving customer needs and making sure sustainability is a critical part of its strategy. We realize that we play a key role in leading the way on critical issues in our industry that have a global impact. Using green power helps build demand for the development of new, renewable energy capacity and helps us reduce our carbon footprint. The more we can do to raise awareness of green power initiatives, the better.

Digital Realty is striving to do its part to enable energy efficiency by accommodating evolving customer needs and making sure sustainability is a critical part of its strategy.

We also focus on ways data center operators can better manage and reduce our use of water. In 2016, Digital Realty implemented a water conservation action plan at an operational data center site in New Jersey. The site saved 1 million gallons of water in just the first four months following project completion as a result. For its new data center designs, Digital Realty worked with Emerson (now Vertiv) to explore the energy savings and operational performance benefits of a pumped refrigerant system and compared it to that of a chilled water system. The pumped refrigerant system was not only energy-efficient, it eliminated the use of water for cooling and avoided millions of gallons of water-use at new data centers. The results of this analysis were shared with regulators in California, which ultimately resulted in a change to rules that enabled the wider use of this solution in the data center industry. Digital Realty is now utilizing the pumped refrigerant system to save more than 300 million gallons of water annually in its data centers, compared to using chilled water systems. We have also deployed the technology in our data centers in California, Virginia, Texas, and Australia, and we’re considering it for use in Europe.

We are committed to our sustainability initiatives, including the use of green power and the delivery of sustainable buildings. These initiatives are shown to deliver increased asset value and lower operating costs as well as provide significant environmental benefits.

While focusing on these significant sustainability programs, Digital Realty still managed to achieve a decade of ‘five nines” or 99.999% of uptime, recently surpassing 1.45 billion operating minutes across its 145 properties, encompassing approximately 23 million square feet in 33 metropolitan areas around the world. This is a testament to the fact that success and energy consciousness can work hand in hand. Our company’s global portfolio and comprehensive solutions enable Digital Realty customers to expand from a single cabinet to a multi-megawatt facility as their needs grow, with no change in providers and no interruption in service. And they can do that all in green, energy-efficient data centers.

We realize that today, more data center customers are making sustainability one of their top priorities when considering a provider. The future of our industry depends on it, as well as the future of our world.

Want to learn more about Digital Realty’s approach to sustainability and the EPA’s Top 30 Tech & Telecom List of Green Power Users? Read the press release or learn more about our sustainability approach.

Aaron Binkley is Director of Sustainability Programs at Digital Realty. Digital Realty was recently recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), ranking 6th on their Green Power Partnership Top 30 Tech & Telecom list of the largest consumers of green power, as well as twelfth on the EPA’s National Top 100 list of green power users. To help accomplish this, in 2016 Digital Realty signed a power purchase agreement with a utility-scale wind farm to serve 100% of its U.S. colocation and interconnection electricity footprint with renewable energy. Before that, in 2015, the company became the first data center REIT to issue a green bond to fund green building projects with a beneficial impact on the environment.

This is was one of the most popular Voices of the Industry columns on Data Center Frontier over the past four months. This article was originally published on Data Canter Frontier on July 24th.

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Voices of the Industry

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