Making sustainable data centres a reality

One of the leaders in the data centre industry is no doubt Google. Unsurprisingly, their data centres, some of the largest in the world, devour huge amounts of energy. In fact, in a single year (2019) Google consumed 12.4 terawatt-hours of electricity, more than entire countries. This makes the idea of carbon-neutral data centres seem improbable, especially as the need for data storage continues to grow. But leading industry players, including Google and Equinix, have pledged to achieve this goal by 2030. 

So how can data centre operators make carbon-neutral data centres a reality? It is going to take a 3-Scope approach as laid out by the Greenhouse Gas Protocol. There has been a lot of focus on reducing Scope I and Scope 2 emissions, which in the context of data centres, refers to increasing the efficiencies of data centres and the production of electricity.

However, in reality, Scope 3 emissions, that is, emissions generated by partners and suppliers far exceed both Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions. These ‘value chain emissions’ require data centre operators to create sustainable ecosystems. This process can be broken down into 4 steps: 


Identify the volume of your supply chain’s carbon emissions.


Develop decarbonisation programmes and set targets in line with the data

generated in Step 1.


Engage with partners who support these sustainability initiatives.


Collaborate with your partners towards achieving sustainable goals by first identifying their baseline carbon footprint and then developing strategies together. 

As a data centre operator, you have the power to go a step further and support your suppliers in adopting renewable energy measures too — something which can be more challenging in manufacturing data centre products but is by no means impossible. 

Cross Guard is dedicated to sustainability and is a leading supplier of hot and cold aisle containment systems, which are designed to drive energy efficiency and reduce carbon footprints. It’s why we were shortlisted for the energy and sustainability award, Make UK Manufacturing Awards in 2021. Together, we can create a greener future and it starts with turning carbon-neutral data centres into a reality. 



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