As more consumers and businesses prioritize purchasing from companies that pursue sustainability measures, there are new trends emerging in the tech market. The data center, in particular, has the potential to make great strides in sustainability simply because it tends to use a lot of energy.
Some companies are making major strides in improving their energy consumption and efforts to offset their energy use, while others may be making more noise than any real effort. You can see this in three emerging trends in the effort to make data centers more sustainable, as well as one more trend that may be the most influential of all:
This new practice involves submerging servers and other equipment in non-conductive liquids. The result is a cooling technique that is significantly more efficient than current practices. Intel has spearheaded the exploration of this approach but is pursuing a crowd-sourcing strategy that will allow other partners to join in the experimentation and development.
The past year has also shown continued interest in using hydrogen as a power source for the data center. It hasn’t yet been tried on a large scale, but Microsoft has been working on a proof-of-concept and announced this year that they successfully replaced diesel-powered generators with hydrogen cells in its data centers. It’s too early to know if this is a viable sustainability practice, but there’s reason to be optimistic about hydrogen power.
Water Usage Efficiency
Also referred to as WUE, water usage efficiency is a metric companies use to communicate their pursuit of becoming water-positive. Amazon has led the way in fully disclosing WUE reports and committing to becoming water-positive, but other companies like Google Cloud and Microsoft have yet to disclose their WUE reports. Water plays a critical role in the data center, with many companies using water to spray down their facilities, a practice that is expected to only ramp up with global warming.
What should perhaps be noted as an additional trend is the common practices that look more like smoke and mirrors than true sustainability. Bloomberg reports that many of the largest tech companies have inflated their sustainability scores by purchasing renewable energy credits and carbon offsets.
If you’re concerned about sustainability and the role data centers play in responsible energy consumption, contact us at Independent Connections. Whether you have questions about the sustainability practices of your public cloud provider or you are in the process of comparing cloud-based data centers, let’s talk about the factors you should consider.