The current trend in data center regulation emphasizes power consumption efficiency and carbon emission, and many efforts are being made in this direction.

Greenpeace International recently issued an ecologically-oriented report on achieving 100% renewable energy data centers. The report first highlighted the growing energy consumption of the IT industry and its negative impact on the environment.

Data Center Regulation to be More Eco-Friendly

Carbon Emission Regulation continues to be a hot topic in the Data Center industries. The issue has been on the table for quite some time, but more recently, it has become a much more critical issue, with organizations and politicians recognizing that Data Centers are large electricity consumers. In addition, with the push towards renewable energy sources, carbon emission levels are becoming an essential indicator of how successful a renewable strategy is.

As the climate warms, many countries are putting out data center regulations to reduce carbon emissions from the centers. The rule is an excellent way of handling the issue, and it’s also a way to cut back on energy costs. The United States has been slow in addressing the problem, but there have been some positive changes.

The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) issued new rules that will help companies find and implement ways to reduce their energy usage and carbon footprint and ultimately help reduce carbon emissions.

The rules focus on data centers that house companies’ servers. These servers store and transfer information for various businesses, from finance to technology to retail. The servers themselves require much energy to run properly, and because of the large amounts of servers currently running in data centers across the globe, they account for a large chunk of energy consumption in the United States.

Environmental Impact Of Data Centers

It is no secret that the world’s data centers are not environmentally friendly. According to Greenpeace’s 2013 report, “How Clean is your Cloud?”, data centers account for 2% of global electricity consumption and 5% of total carbon emissions.

However, many countries are beginning to realize the urgency of addressing this issue as they become more aware of the threats of climate change. For instance, China has recently announced that it plans to reduce its greenhouse gases by 10% by 2015 and 20% by 2020.

Read more: Climate Neutral Data Centre Best Practices and Challenges.

Data Center Energy Source and Efficiency

As the population of our planet grows and more information is exchanged on a global scale, the data center will continue to grow and expand to keep up with demand. With all this expansion, there will be even greater demand for energy sources to power the servers and other components that allow us to connect and communicate with each other at increasingly rapid speeds.

Data Center Energy Source

There are many different data center energy sources, ranging from renewable sources such as solar panels to natural gas or coal-powered plants. Various factors determine the best source for a specific facility, such as location, access to renewable energy sources, cost-effectiveness, and company sustainability goals.

There are two main types of energy sources: electricity and natural gas. Electricity is usually generated by burning coal or by a hydroelectric dam. Natural gas is created when petroleum products, such as oil and natural gas, are “cooked” for long periods at high temperatures and pressures in special boilers called gasifiers.

Both methods release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, which causes global warming. Choosing an alternate energy source can reduce the amount of carbon dioxide released into the air and help slow down or even prevent global warming.

However, natural gas has 50% lower carbon emissions than oil fuel and coal power plants. Ideally, all industries and housing use electricity from renewable sources.

The switch to alternative fuels has far-reaching implications on both the environmental impact and cost savings that data centers may experience. The European Union (EU) has issued data center regulation that sets limits on CO2 emissions at 20% below 2005 levels by 2020, while the US Environmental Protection Agency sets limits on greenhouse gas emissions at 30% below 2005 levels by 2030. By using renewable energy instead of traditional fossil fuel sources, data centers will be able to decrease their operational costs and carbon footprint tremendously.

Data Center Efficiency

In the past decade, technological advancements and data center trends have made energy-efficient designs necessary. Energy efficiency is no longer an option but a requirement. In the long run, one of the best ways to save money is to implement energy-efficient measures during the design phase.

The most important aspect of these regulations is “Power Usage Effectiveness” (PUE) which represents the ratio between the total amount of energy consumed by a data center, including servers, network equipment, and cooling systems, and the power input to the facility calculated as only the IT equipment. This has been a significant focus of data center operators over the past few years everywhere in the world.

Data center efficiency is an ongoing process of managing resources to ensure they are used most efficiently. Several areas require careful consideration concerning data center efficiencies, such as cooling and power.

Regarding cooling, two main types of cooling systems are used in data centers: air-cooled and water-cooled. Air-cooled data centers draw large volumes of outside air to cool equipment, whereas water-cooled data centers use water to dissipate heat. Because water-cooling systems can operate at higher temperatures while maintaining safe operations, they can reduce power consumption by up to 40% compared to air-cooled systems.

Welcome to The Green Data Center Era!

Data centers are responsible for 2% of all greenhouse gas emissions in the US – that’s more than 32 million metric tons every year. And while many companies have already implemented measures like recycling heat from their power-consuming machines, instituting more environmentally-friendly practices, and reducing their overall energy usage, there is still work to be done.

The global data center industry is transitioning from focusing on a scale (measured in terms of total capacity) to emphasizing efficiency (measured in terms of energy efficiency). The biggest global data center operators have all announced significant investments in new energy-efficient technologies.

In the future, all data centers should be transformed into Green Data Centers and welcome “The Green Data Center” era. With significant changes come great technological innovations. Data centers can now be built with greater efficiency in mind, saving costs for everyone involved.

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