Renewable Energy Gaining Ground In Data Centers
Third of a three-part article on how to make critical facilities more energy efficient.
No matter how energy efficient they become, data centers will always be energy hogs. That’s one reason more and more data centers are looking at renewable energy.
“Utilizing renewable energy sources aligns with the corporate social responsibility policy for many firms,” says Robert Cassiliano, CEO at Business Information Services and chairman of 7x24 Exchange. “In many instances, it is a matter of image and reputation.”
Equinix plans to use 50 percent renewable energy in 2017, with a long-term goal of 100 percent, says David Rinard, senior director of global sustainability for Equinix, and in discussions with customers, “renewable energy is starting to become table stakes. We’re seeing it in our RFPs; we’re getting lots of questions and lots of interest.”
A creative solution that involves renewable energy, Schlattman says, is happening in Phoenix, where methane gas from a landfill is helping to power a new data center, and water harvested from the chiller is being used for cooling. The expense of installing the system is expected to pay for itself in about six years, he says.
The interest is industry-wide. Cassiliano says that 7x24 Exchange conference attendees have expressed interest in topics related to renewable energy and energy efficiency. “To address this interest 7x24 Exchange has had speakers from the U.S. Department of Energy present the president’s Better Buildings Challenge, The Green Grid and ASHRAE deliver talks on efficiency, and companies such as Google speak about how they utilize renewable energy sources. In Google’s presentation they discussed the use of sea water to cool their data center in Finland.
“So, yes, there is interest in renewable energy,” Cassiliano concludes.