By TJ Faze, Head of ESG Strategy and Engagement at Vertiv
Data centers hold a critical place in our society, whether by supporting our global economy or allowing us to stream our favorite shows. But their operations have raised serious concerns regarding efficiency and energy usage. In the years to come, we can expect even more aspects of our daily lives to become digital, fueling our growing appetite for data. In the data center world, there are already 2.9 gigawatts of new data center capacity currently under construction.
To slow the environmental effects of this growth, critical infrastructure providers are working with greater urgency to develop high-performing products and solutions that use less water and more renewable energy. These efforts from manufacturers are in lockstep with growing customer needs. Perhaps the most famous examples of this are Google announcing its goal of employing only carbon-free energy sources by 2030 and Microsoft setting goals to be carbon-negative and water-positive by that same year. While our industry has made significant strides in recent years to improve the energy efficiency of data centers, the work is far from over.
Better product design for more purpose-driven results
To address the challenge of enabling data center growth with less energy consumption, Vertiv has worked to improve its internal operations to deliver solutions that help contribute to customer goals in these areas. We do this in part by grounding our work in five key principles, outlined in our recently released ESG report:
Making inroads for more efficient solutions means introducing new and upgraded products with high energy- and water-efficiency attributes that can replace less-efficient legacy models. For example, the Vertiv Liebert® EXL S1 with Dynamic Online Mode can increase energy efficiency by up to 5% and reduce energy losses by up to 75% when compared to a legacy model. Additionally, our water-free cooling systems have saved billions of gallons of water a year worldwide since we introduced them in 2013, like our Liebert® DSE Free-Cooling Economization System that saves up to 4 million gallons of water per year, per unit, compared to previous models.
Meaningful change requires meaningful collaboration
The future will likely bring greater adoption of energy solutions using fuel cells, renewable energy assets, and long-duration energy storage systems, including battery energy storage systems and lithium-ion batteries, which recharge and recover quickly. For telecom cell sites, companies like Vertiv offer solutions that enable solar energy to be used as the primary power source for remote facilities that are off the power grid and as supplemental energy sources for those that are connected to the grid. High-efficiency rectifiers help telecom carriers save energy and mitigate emissions associated with their energy production.
Industry stakeholders of all types will need to work together to accomplish meaningful change in reducing energy inefficiencies. One way to do so is by engaging in partnerships aimed at addressing data center efficiency and emissions, such as the RISE Partnership Program and EcoEdge PrimePower Project, the Sustainable Digital Infrastructure Alliance, the European Data Centre Association, and the newly announced iMason’s Climate Accord. Industry leaders should also consider partnering with local municipalities to make the data center central to their region’s infrastructure by employing tactics like leveraging on-site renewables and energy storage for the data center to support and stabilize the grid.
The path toward a more efficient data center will require much more than customer-manufacturer interactions. It requires a concerted effort from data center operators, infrastructure partners, industry organizations, and other key stakeholders to engage with each other so data centers can continue to provide value while minimizing their environmental impact.
Learn more about how Vertiv is working to create future-ready and energy efficient digital continuity solutions.
This post was created by Vertiv with Insider Studios.