data center cooling system

Data Centers’ Use of Water, Electricity Faces Criticism

  July 2, 2021

By Dan Hounsell

The upside of cloud computing is undeniable. It enables businesses to control long-term costs, better protect their data, and operate more collaboratively and with greater flexibility.

But data centers that create cloud commuting come with downsides, as more communities are finding out.

Consider Mesa, Arizona, which recently approved the $800 million data center development. Keeping rows of a data center’s powerful computers from overheating will require up to 1.25 million gallons of water each day, a price that Vice Mayor Jenn Duff believes is too high, according to NBC News. Critics nationwide are raising concerns about the proliferation of data centers, which guzzle electricity and water while creating relatively few jobs.

The spike in use of data-intensive cloud services has increased demand for the computing power offered by data centers globally. And this means more data centers are being built every day. According to the Synergy Research Group, there were about 600 “hyperscale” data centers globally by the end of 2020. That’s double the number there were in 2015. Almost 40 percent of them are in the United States.

Dan Hounsell is Senior Editor, Facility Market


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