“Renewable energy.” “Clean energy.” These may sound like buzzwords – trendy little catchphrases meant to grab your attention and sound good but they are far more than buzzwords, they are the reality and the future of data centers. As we make pushes to become sustainable in all industries one of the biggest focuses will likely be towards sustainable, renewable energy in the data center. Large data centers use exponential amounts of energy, equivalent to the energy some small cities use, so it only goes to logic that there would be a push to make that energy usage as clean as possible. So, just how critical will it be that data centers focus on sustainability through renewable and clean energy going forward? Very. In fact, Data Center Knowledge notes that a study was completed and what consumers want now and going forward are data centers focused on sustainability, “A recent survey of consumers of retail colocation and wholesale data center services by Data Center Knowledge, found that 70 percent of these users consider sustainability issues when selecting data center providers. About one-third of the ones that do said it was very important that their data center providers power their facilities with renewable energy, and 15 percent said it was critical.Most respondents said their interest in data centers powered by renewable energy would increase over the next five years. More than 60 percent have an official sustainability policy, while 25 percent are considering developing one within the next 18 months.”
As data center space across the globe continues to rapidly grow, so will the amount of energy used. That energy use is often not only bad for the environment but quite costly. We have already seen large companies like Google and Apple focus on renewable energy and, as we often see, smaller data centers will likely follow in their footsteps. Small and large data centers are undertaking renovations and making changes towards renewable energy because even the tiniest improvements in efficiency and sustainability are saving big bucks. What do these renewable energy efforts look like? There are a vast array of options and approaches but Data Center Frontier elaborates on a few, “In broad terms, “clean” or “green” energy comes from renewable sources such as the sun (solar), wind, the movement of water in rivers and oceans (hydroelectricity), biofuels (fuel derived from organic matter), and geothermal activity. Today, there are big trends showing that tech giants are moving towards renewable energy sources in their green data centers. Digital Realty, along with certain major technology companies and other pioneers, are showing that clean energy can be used to power even the largest and most high-performance data centers. And as more organizations consider moving from traditional to cleaner sources of power, they are also showing that renewable energy can be cost-effective.” This is not a fleeting trend. Renewable energy is here to stay, it is the future of data centers, and all data centers should b emaking efforts to make small and big changes towards renewable energy for the future.