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Data Centres And Climate Change

18 March, 2015

Data Centres And Climate Change

Climate change remains one of the world’s most controversial topics and data centres are not exempt from its scope. In fact, global warming is having a noticeable impact on data centres around the world. Below are just some of the ways the industry is feeling the heat…

 

Flood management systems

Over the past few years weather damage has forced data centre managers to think about how they can protect hubs against natural disasters. Flooding is one of the primary sources of anxiety, with 2012’s ruthlessly destructive Hurricane Sandy damaging East Coast data centres, shutting down New York companies and disrupting IT operations across the globe. This has led to the development of heavier duty flood protection technology, as well as the movement of some centres to less vulnerable and flood prone regions. Other companies are also constructing mirror-image sites or turning to third party cloud providers in an attempt to protect data. This is an effective solution but it also comes with a weighty price tag. Arielle Emmett of prominent technology site Computerworld explains, "It remains unclear how many will act on a longer-term solution -- moving out of the city entirely, for example, or developing redundant and geographically separate facilities, or opting for third-party disaster recovery and cloud solutions.”

 

Energy efficient technology

As the world develops a growing awareness for the need to slash energy consumption, reduce CO2 emissions and combat climate change data centres have been forced into the spotlight. In the US alone the high tech IT hubs account for 1.5% of the nation’s total electricity consumption. This has seen many data centres make the switch to ‘greener’ technology such as energy efficient lighting, economical cooling systems and strategic layouts.

 

Building in cooler locations

Data centre air conditioning can chew up a huge amount of power, with some cooling systems accounting for over one third of total energy consumption. While data centres are taking steps to adopt energy efficient cooling technologies building hubs in cooler locations has also emerged as a popular solution. When outside temperatures are lower it increases the capacity to use external air for cooling purposes.

 

Government legislations

One of the most resounding effects of climate change has been the roll out of new governmental legislations regarding the construction and operation of data centres. In the UK new builds must comply with the Climate Change Agreements (CCA) scheme which outlines a range of environmental obligations. These are designed to help the UK reach its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80% in 2050, encouraging corporate responsibility, reducing the demand for energy and supporting sustainable developments.

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