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  • Karan Shah

The Future of Data Centres: Green Technology and Renewable Energy


Sustainable Data Centre

Introduction

Data centres have become an crucial part of our lives. They store, process, and distribute information that we rely on for work, entertainment, communication, and more. However, the growing demand for computing power is leading to larger, more energy-intensive data centres.


According to recent reports, data centres consume approximately 1-1.4% of the world's electricity, and this number is only expected to rise. In response, there is a growing trend towards using green technology and renewable energy in data centers, which could have a significant impact on the environment.


To address the negative impact of data centres energy consumption and carbon footprint, providers must adopt eco-friendly alternatives. Fortunately, such alternatives exist and are gaining popularity, as demonstrated by the global green IT service market projected to reach US $34.83 billion by 2030.


To reduce both costs and environmental impact, enterprises can prioritize green design, material choices, waste recycling, and alternative energy technologies when building data centers.


Here are a few strategies for providers looking to implement green initiatives:


The Challenge of Energy Consumption: Reduce your server usage


Data centres require an enormous amount of energy to function. The servers, storage devices, cooling systems, and other components all consume electricity, resulting in high energy bills and a large carbon footprint.


To save energy and reduce costs, it's important to monitor server usage in your data centre. Running servers 24/7 can lead to underutilization and wasted energy. By using server monitoring tools, data centre providers can track usage and consolidate functions into fewer machines. This can even lead to virtualizing some servers and decommissioning others altogether, further reducing the data centre's physical footprint.


Choose environmental-friendly materials and components

There are many ways to reduce energy usage and minimize your carbon footprint, including using compact buildings, low-emission materials, recycling waste, and using alternative energy sources for power and cooling.


Upgrading air compressors, decommissioning dormant servers, shredding papers, and switching to LED lighting can all make a significant impact over time. Additionally, businesses can save money and protect the environment by utilizing renewable resources to power servers and building data centers in naturally cold locations to take advantage of free cooling.


These energy-efficient improvements collectively saved 620 kWh of electricity between 2010 and 2020.


The Role of Artificial Intelligence


Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) can help reduce energy consumption in data centres. These technologies can analyze data from sensors and other sources to identify areas where energy is being wasted and make recommendations for improvements. For example, they can adjust temperature or humidity levels to optimize energy usage, or suggest the best placement of servers to improve airflow and reduce cooling needs. By automating these tasks, AI and ML can help data centres operate more efficiently and reduce their environmental impact.


Invest in smart facility management tools


Data centre facility managers need to gather and store significant data about their data centers, such as power consumption and data loads, to optimize asset utilization and reduce power consumption and HVAC loads. By analyzing this data, insights can be gained and applied to environment control systems.


AI-powered monitoring tools utilize machine learning to build a power usage effectiveness forecasting model by analyzing energy data. Additionally, data centre providers should incorporate AI tools to manage HVAC functions and IoT sensors to provide continuous temperature data to ensure that temperatures remain at optimal levels.


Set measurable sustainability goals for IT


To achieve sustainable IT practices, data centre providers should establish specific, measurable goals that are based on their unique data. These goals could be set around targets for emission reduction or zero waste, and they allow providers to manage their progress by setting milestones and continuously tracking key metrics.


By 2024, it is estimated that 80% of data centre providers will prioritize infrastructure, operations, and cloud as top technology investments in their overall sustainability strategy, up from less than 20% in 2022.


Renewable Energy Sources


Renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, and hydropower are becoming increasingly popular in data centres. These sources are environmental friendly and can help reduce energy costs. For example, some data centers have installed solar panels on their roofs or on nearby land to generate electricity. In addition, some data centres are using geothermal energy, which uses the natural heat of the earth to cool servers. Renewable energy sources can also help data centres become more resilient, as they are not dependent on fossil fuels that can be subject to supply chain disruptions.


Energy-efficient Hardware

Another way to reduce energy consumption in data centres is to use energy-efficient hardware. Many hardware manufacturers are designing servers, storage devices, and other components that are specifically optimized for low power consumption. For example, some servers are designed to use less energy during idle periods or to use less energy when processing certain types of workloads. These energy-efficient components can help reduce energy costs and lower the carbon footprint of data centres.


Conclusion

In conclusion, the future of data centres looks increasingly green. The use of green technology and renewable energy sources can help reduce energy consumption and lower the carbon footprint of data centres. AI and ML can optimize energy usage, while renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power can provide clean energy. In addition, energy-efficient hardware can help reduce energy costs and improve the sustainability of data centres. By adopting these green technologies, data centres can become more environmentally friendly and sustainable for the future.


In the age of increasing digitization and data usage, data centres will continue to play an essential role in our lives. However, it is vital to make them sustainable and environmentally friendly. By implementing green technology and renewable energy sources, data centres can reduce their impact on the environment and help combat climate change. As technology continues to advance, it is encouraging to see the increasing focus on sustainability in the data center industry. By taking these steps, we can ensure that data centres remain a vital part of our lives while also contributing to a more sustainable future.


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Discover how green technology & renewable energy are changing the future of data centres. Learn how AI, renewable energy & energy-efficient hardware are being used


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