Sustainable Data Center- Need of The Era

Jul 17,2023 by Sneha Mishra
Sustainable Data Center

As the globe grapples with urgent environmental issues such as climate change and resource depletion, sustainability has emerged as a vital component. People frequently identify greenhouse gasses and carbon footprints with massive businesses like transportation and fossil fuel extraction. However, data centers in Noida and worldwide also significantly contribute to carbon footprints. As per Techspot, data centers consume more than 205 terawatt hours of electricity annually. According to a 2019 report, data centers generate the same volume of carbon emissions as the global airline industry in terms of fuel consumption. This data highlights the need for a sustainable data center.  

Sustainable Data Center: What Is It All About? 

Sustainable data centers in Noida are designed and operated facilities that minimize their environmental impact and maximize energy efficiency. These data centers aim to reduce their carbon footprint and promote sustainable practices.

Three main targets of sustainable or green data centers are:

  • Reducing electrical power consumption
  • Water conservation
  • Waste Management

Environmental Impact of Traditional Data Center

Traditional data centers have supported our reliance on technology and powered the Internet for years. It has served as a backbone of various online services and stored vast information. However, its environmental impact can’t be overlooked. 

  1. Energy Consumption

Traditional data centers in Noida demand high energy to run their servers, cooling systems, and other equipment. According to research, data centers account for around 3% of global energy use. By 2030, this figure is predicted to grow to 4%. As per statistics, an average hyperscale facility consumes 20 to 50 MW yearly. In theory, it is enough to power up to 37,000 households. 

  1. Carbon Emissions

By 2030, the energy consumption of data centers is expected to rise to 2,500 TWh. The high energy consumption of data centers translates into substantial carbon emissions. The primary contributor is the reliance on fossil fuels for electricity generation, especially in regions where renewable energy sources still need to be dominant. As per a report data center’s carbon dioxide emission is on par with the aviation industry (2% of the global emission). Unfortunately, this figure is anticipated to climb in the coming years. The scenario is severe, particularly as demand for data centers grows. 

  1. Water Usage

In data center operations, water is crucial in maintaining optimal temperatures for the equipment housed within cooling towers. The US Department of Energy’s report suggests that data centers’ evaporative cooling systems can consume up to 5 million gallons of water. It is equivalent to the water usage of a bustling metropolis housing anywhere between 30,000 to 50,000 people. Extensive demand for water can place significant strain on local water resources, particularly in regions already grappling with water scarcity or stress. 

  1. Cooling Systems

Data centers require efficient cooling systems to prevent equipment from overheating. Traditional cooling methods, such as air conditioning, consume significant electricity. Moreover, it contributes to the environmental impact of data centers. These cooling systems can account for almost half of a data center’s energy usage. Consequently, alternative cooling methods and improved cooling efficiency are being explored to minimize the ecological footprint.

  1. Electronic Waste
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The rapid pace of technological advancements and the need to upgrade equipment regularly contribute to a growing electronic waste (e-waste) problem. Data centers produce substantial e-waste, including servers, storage devices, networking equipment, and cooling systems. Proper e-waste management is crucial to minimize the environmental impact. It ensures the responsible disposal, recycling, and reuse of electronic components.

Why Does a Data Center in Noida Need to Take a Sustainable Approach? 

As data centers in Noida continue to expand and play a vital role in our digital infrastructure, it is crucial to prioritize sustainable practices in their operations. Embracing sustainable practices helps protect the environment. Moreover, it makes good business sense by reducing operating costs and enhancing corporate social responsibility.

  1. Energy Efficiency

Data centers in Noida are power-hungry entities. It consumes substantial electricity to operate its servers, cooling systems, and other infrastructure. By implementing energy-efficient practices, data centers can significantly reduce their carbon footprint. It includes the utilization of optimizing servers, virtualization techniques, energy-efficient hardware, and installing improved cooling technology. Energy-efficient data centers not only help the environment but also result in significant cost savings in the long term.

  1. Renewable Energy Integration

Renewable energy sources are another critical feature of a sustainable data center in Noida. Data centers become more ecologically friendly by investing in renewable energy infrastructure, such as on-site solar panels or acquiring renewable energy credits. Moreover, it also helps expand renewable energy sectors.

  1. Waste Management

Data centers generate substantial electronic waste, primarily from outdated or decommissioned hardware. Sustainable practices in data center operations involve responsible management of e-waste. It includes recycling, properly disposing of equipment, and refurbishing or repurposing components whenever possible. By adopting circular economy principles, data centers can minimize waste. Moreover, it will aid in conserving resources and reducing the environmental impact of electronic waste disposal.

  1. Water Conservation

Water is a valuable resource, and data centers consume significant amounts of it for cooling purposes. Sustainable data center operations focus on water conservation by implementing water-efficient cooling technologies, optimizing cooling system designs, and exploring alternative cooling methods such as air-side economization. Additionally, data centers can adopt rainwater harvesting techniques and implement water recycling systems. It will aid in reducing their reliance on freshwater sources.

  1. Carbon Offsetting and Reporting

While striving to reduce their environmental impact, data centers in Noida can contribute to sustainability by investing in carbon offset projects. Carbon offsetting implies supporting initiatives that lower greenhouse gas emissions. It balances out the emissions generated by data center operations. Furthermore, data centers should adopt transparent reporting practices to track and disclose their environmental performance. It enables stakeholders to assess their sustainability efforts effectively.

Sustainable Practices in Data Centers: A Holistic Approach for Environmental Responsibility

To achieve true environmental responsibility, data centers must embrace a holistic approach to sustainability. Through collective efforts, data centers can contribute to a greener future while meeting the growing demand for digital services.

  1. Energy Efficiency
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Energy efficiency is one of the critical areas of attention for sustainable data centers in Noida. Massive quantities of electricity are required to run these facilities’ computers, cooling systems, and other equipment. Using energy-efficient technology and practices, data centers may dramatically cut their energy usage.

  1. Virtualization

Server virtualization enables multiple virtual servers to run on a single physical server. Thus, maximizing resource utilization. This consolidation reduces power consumption and improves overall energy efficiency.

  1. Efficient Cooling

Data centers generate a considerable amount of heat, necessitating robust cooling systems. Implementing efficient cooling techniques can minimize energy usage in cooling operations. It includes hot aisle/cold aisle containment, airflow optimization, and free cooling methods.

  1. Renewable Energy

Data centers may lower their carbon footprint by switching to solar or wind power. Installing on-site renewable energy systems or procuring renewable energy credits can offset the energy consumption of these facilities.

  1. Waste Reduction and Recycling

Due to IT equipment’s frequent upgrades and replacements, data centers generate significant amounts of electronic waste (e-waste). To promote sustainability, data centers can adopt the following practices.

  1. Responsible Disposal

Proper disposal and recycling of e-waste are crucial to prevent harmful materials from entering landfills. Data centers in Noida should partner with certified e-waste recyclers to ensure the environmentally responsible disposal of their equipment.

  1. Equipment Life Cycle Management

Extending the life cycle of IT equipment through upgrades and maintenance reduces the need for frequent replacements. Additionally, implementing circular economy principles, such as refurbishing and reselling decommissioned equipment, can reduce waste.

  1. Water Conservation

Water usage is another critical aspect of sustainable data centers. These facilities consume substantial amounts of water for cooling and humidity control. Implementing water conservation measures can help minimize the environmental impact:

  1. Water Reclamation

Data centers in Noida should Utilize advanced water reclamation technologies, such as rainwater harvesting and greywater recycling. It can reduce the reliance on freshwater sources and conserve water.

  1. Efficient Cooling Systems

Deploying innovative cooling technologies that require less water, such as air-side economizers and evaporative cooling, can significantly decrease water consumption in data centers.

  1. Monitoring and Optimization

Continuous monitoring and optimization of data center operations are essential for identifying inefficiencies and implementing improvements. Operators can optimize performance and enhance sustainability by analyzing data on energy consumption, temperature, and other variables. 

  1. Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM)

Implementing DCIM software provides real-time insights into energy usage, cooling efficiency, and other key performance indicators. This information enables data center operators to identify areas for improvement and make data-driven decisions.

  1. Predictive Analytics

By leveraging predictive analytics, data centers in Noida can anticipate energy demands and adjust operations accordingly. This proactive approach optimizes resource allocation, reduces energy waste, and enhances efficiency.

Future of Sustainable Data Centers in Noida

As our dependency on data increases, it has become crucial for organizations not only to adopt efficient solutions but also to take a sustainable approach. 

  1. Energy-Efficient Infrastructure

One of the key challenges in building sustainable data centers in Noida is minimizing energy consumption. Traditional data centers require significant power to run and cool their servers. However, advancements in technology are driving the development of more energy-efficient infrastructure. For instance, adopting virtualization techniques allows multiple virtual servers to run on a single physical server, reducing overall energy consumption. Furthermore, innovative strategies, such as liquid and free cooling, are being used to reduce the energy required for cooling. 

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Renewable energy sources will be critical in the future of green data centers. On-site solar panels and wind turbines can provide a reliable, sustainable energy supply. Thus, reducing reliance on fossil fuels. Moreover, advanced energy storage technologies like large-scale batteries can help data centers store excess renewable energy. 

  1. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML)

Artificial intelligence and machine learning can help data centers boost overall infrastructure efficiency. AI and MI algorithms can optimize data center operations by dynamically adjusting energy usage, workload distribution, and cooling mechanisms based on real-time demand. By analyzing patterns and predicting future workloads, AI algorithms can ensure that only the necessary resources are allocated, minimizing energy waste.

  1. Green Building Practice 

The physical design and construction of data centers are also evolving to enhance sustainability. Architects and engineers are incorporating green building practices. It includes utilizing recycled or sustainable building materials and optimizing natural lighting and ventilation. Moreover, innovative cooling techniques, such as utilizing outside air when ambient conditions permit, are being implemented to reduce energy consumption.

  1. Water Saving Technologies

In addition to energy efficiency, water conservation is another critical aspect of sustainable data centers. Data centers require considerable amounts of water for cooling purposes. The responsible use of this resource is crucial. Implementing water-saving technologies can significantly reduce the environmental impact. It includes advanced cooling systems that minimize water usage and recirculate water. 

  1. Circular Economy Principles 

Furthermore, data centers in Noida embrace circular economy principles to reduce waste and improve resource utilization. They are increasingly recycling or repurposing decommissioned servers, networking equipment, and other components. Data centers can ensure that materials are reused or recycled by adopting a lifecycle approach and working with equipment manufacturers. It minimizes the need for raw materials and reduces electronic waste.

  1. Government  Initiatives 

Government regulations and industry standards also push the data center industry towards sustainability. Many countries implement energy efficiency certifications and renewable energy targets to incentivize data centers to adopt sustainable practices. Additionally, industry organizations and initiatives are promoting best practices and sharing knowledge to accelerate the adoption of sustainable technologies and operations.

Wrapping Up

The stats and traditional data center impact outlined above indicate that the era needs sustainable or green data centers in Noida. The good news is that organizations are slowly acknowledging this requirement. According to Gartner insights, about 75% of organizations will implement data center sustainability programs by 2027. A sustainable data center will benefit the environment and prove an excellent economic strategy. 

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