In January 2013, we switched our electricity supply to 100% renewable energy sources. Now, over four years later, we’re taking a look at the future of the data centre, which is looking greener than ever.

 

Microsoft recently filed a patent to create ‘artificial reef data centres’ that will provide an underwater home for ocean life, as well as its servers. This innovation comes with other benefits – the temperature of the data centre’s underwater environment will lead to hugely reduced cooling costs. 

 

These is an extreme way to save energy, but Microsoft aren’t the only company who are realising the benefits of being greener. As well as being more friendly to the environment, eco-friendly data centre design and products can reduce costs.

 

Cooling and air conditioning can lead to huge energy bills, as well as using up plenty of energy. Many companies are realising this and taking steps to alter their design and cooling systems in order to reduce energy use and power their servers more efficiently. Facebook has taken this a step further and has chosen Luleå in Sweden as the site of one of its data centres, where free air cooling means that over the last year, the company has been able to achieve a power usage effectiveness ratio of 1.09. This means that for every watt spent on IT gear, 0.09 watts are spent on supporting it, making this rating much lower than the data centre industry average of 1.5 to 1.9. 

 

However, companies that don’t have the time or money to relocate to colder or sub-aquatic locations are still taking measures to become more energy efficient. Optimising the layout of equipment can save energy and money. For example, designs that allow hot air to be ejected from the data centre can go a long way towards saving money – temperature control by just one degree can increase savings by 4%.

 

As many data centre providers are focusing on making their sites more efficient, we hope that this will encourage others in the industry to follow suit.

 

If you’re looking for a carbon neutral colocation solution, you can find out more about our energy efficiency measures here.

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