Its time for a quick update on our activities over the past few months.
Back in August 2020 we were approached to price for a sustainability benchmarking exercise for an EU Data Centre client, but it all went rather quiet until November, when the PO was received and we started work, we covered quite a bit of ground for them and assessed quite a lot of things as follows:
Firstly we had to define 'Sustainability' in a data centre context, as you can imagine, this took a lot of research and it transpires that actually there is no globally accepted definition of what a sustainable data centre is, plenty of concepts, guidance and some reference in the standards, but nothing that has been agreed by the global community and certainly not one that you can be assessed against, there is an EN 50600 Technical Report 99-2 that provides some insight and we understand that it is due for an update shortly (this obviously has been been difficult to arrange due to the pandemic).
We then looked at Life Cycle Assessments or LCAs, again this is difficult in a data centre context, as essentially a data centre is a system of systems, and some of the capital plant vendors (Chillers, CRACs, Switchgear etc) have yet to produce Environmental Product Declarations or EPDs, this will be problematic in the future as we suspect that climate change and the drive to Net Zero regulations may require the calculation of embedded carbon, certainly we know that all new buildings from 2030 will need to be Net Zero, and that existing buildings need to be Net Zero by 2050. Our MD spoke about this at a recent Digital Infrastructure Network event, which you can access here https://digitalinfranetwork.com/videos/542649167
We also covered this topic for the C-Net Masters student in February, this was arranged after our MD took the C-Net Certified Data Centre Sustainability Professional course and exam, he is now fully qualified in this subject!
Getting back to our Sustainability Benchmarking report,we also covered the various climate change and energy policies in the EU as well as international policy instruments, we also looked in depth at the Climate Neutral Data Centre Pact which you can read about here as wellas the EU Green Deal, EU-ETS and various country specific legislation that affect data centres.
The next section was a review of location in terms of energy consumption and in particular the grid mix of a country (this is a list of all generation sources (coal, oil, gas, biomass, renewables etc) and provides an overall CO2 per kWh figure, this also looked at new build v refurbished building in terms of construction embedded emissions, which as you'd expect was very clear that reusing buildings for data centres is a lot cheaper in carbon terms than constructing a new one.
We also looked at Financial Instruments, or capital funding and its very clear that moving forwards that access to capital to fund data centre construction will be linked to the energy efficiency and sustainability elements included in the project, in short, building a data centre without including the various green building certifications (LEED or BREEAM) and adhering to the EN50600 soon to be the ISO22237 Data Centre series of design, build and operate Standards will mean that you will not get the money, we'll see how this plays out in the future! As part of this exercise we reviews most of the major players globally in terms of the use of green bonds and other green financing options.
We then looked at the Sustainability benchmarks, the LEED and BREEAM mentioned earlier as well as some of the country specific schemes such as NABERS in Australia (not that our client has any facilities there, but their competitors do!)
We then covered the ISO management standards, being ISO9001, 14001, 22301, 27001, 45001 and 50001, being Quality, Environmental, Business Continuity, Information Security, Occupational Health and Safety and finally Energy.
We also looked in detail (as you'd expect) at the Data Centre landscape globally, covering ITU, ISO, CEN/CENELEC/ETSI, TIA, BICSI, ICREA, the various standards used in APAC, ASHRAE, EU Code of Conduct for Data Centres (Energy Efficiency) the CNDCP, SDEA, CEEDA, TuVIT, UTI Tiers and Energy Star. I am sure you'd agree that we've got all the major certifications covered.
The next section was Sustainable Data Centres in terms of current design, the EN506002-1, current construction techniques, the current and future cooling options, construction alterantives, LCA of concrete structures, EPDs, some potential design options for our client, a review of all capital plant and ancillary items (fire, leak and access control.
We did a quick analysis of the locations where our client is planning to build, in terms of competitors, access to heat grids, and liberalisation of the electricity network.
We also conducted a comptetitor analysis of all the site and certifications each company had in Europe.
We also covered data centre carbon footprints and calculation methodologies and the scopes.
Other sections in the report included, smart city co-ordination, general and country specific planning guidance, utility co-ordination etc.
The final sections covered out conclusions, some construction KPis and their priorities for the next 5 years.
We also added two appendices, the ITU standards and a review of the new build design process using EN50600/EUCOC and the Green Grid DCMM.
The report was very well received and some of our recommendations have already been actioned.
If you'd like us to do a similar report for your organisation, drop us an email to email@example.com
We're working on a few projects at the moment, unfortunately cant mention our clients due to NDAs being in place, but one is for cloud footprinting and the other is a DC assessment for two sites.
We're also got a couple of training assignments that need to be scheduled.
Presentations and Speaking Events
In Q1 we have undertaken the following:
W-Media APAC Region 22nd Jan - Moderated panel discussion 'Building Sustainable and Energy Smart Data Centres'
BCS Green IT SG/South London Branch - 2nd Feb 'Can we address the Environmental Impact of ICT'
BCS Green IT 1st March 'Fireside Chat with Jon Evans 'Sustainable and Energy Smart Data Centres'
C-Net Masters Students - 'Sustainability'
BCS Consultancy SG 22nd April 'Consultancy and Green IT'
Data Center Forum - Energy
Digital Infrastructure Network
4th March - Circuit Breaker - Where Data Centre Energy goes next
29th April Net Zero Data Centres
1st June - Broadgroup Data Cloud Congress - Moderating Panel Session -
10th June - DIN Data and the Hydrogen Economy
16th June Intelligence Forum
Data Centre World 7/8th July Roundtable Discussion on Sustainability
28th-30th July Indian Green Building Council - Data Centre Event
2nd September DIN - Data Centres & Microgrids
21/22nd September EnTech WorldCongress
So, all in all, a busy period and its looking like its going to get even busier, especially with our secret project which is nearing fruition, more on that in the next update.
Keep safe until next time.