“Adjust the thermostat” to optimise data centre energy use

thermostat

Digital infrastructure company, Equinix, has announced its commitment to reducing its overall power use by increasing operating temperature ranges within its data centres in order to optimise energy use – the first such commitment by an operator of colocation data centres. 

Starting immediately, Equinix has said that it will begin to define a multi-year global roadmap for thermal operations within its data centres aimed at achieving significantly more efficient cooling and decreased carbon impacts. Over time, this initiative is expected to enable thousands of Equinix customers to reduce the Scope 3 carbon emissions associated with their data centre operations as supply chain sustainability becomes an increasingly important part of the overall environmental initiatives of today’s businesses.

IT equipment within data centres, including routers, servers and storage arrays, emit high levels of heat that requires data centres to be fitted with robust cooling systems to remove that heat.

“Most data centres operate within restrictive temperature and humidity bands, resulting in environments that are unnecessarily cooler than required,” said Rob Brothers, program vice president, data centre services, IDC. “Equinix will work with enterprises to change the way we think about operating temperatures within data centre environments and how the industry can ensure optimal service levels for mission-critical digital infrastructure, while improving data centre efficiencies. With this initiative, Equinix will play a key role in driving change in the industry and help shape the overall sustainability story we all need to participate in.”

“As a long-time partner, we are pleased to see that Equinix is driving efficient data centre operations through smart, sustainable operating practices,” said Sue Preston, vice president and general manager, advisory and professional services, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE). “Optimising data centre temperatures results in more efficient operations, benefitting businesses and the planet. Through the HPE GreenLake alliance, both HPE and Equinix offer a comprehensive, cloud-smart and sustainable customer solution.”

As a part of this new efficiency initiative, Equinix expects to operate its facilities closer to 27°C (80°F), aligning operating limits across its global data centre portfolio with the globally accepted boundaries of the A1A standards from the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).

When combined with existing Equinix initiatives such as optimising the use of outside air temperatures to cool its data centres, this new initiative will reportedly contribute to the overall sustainability of its data centres through efficiency improvements measured through Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE). PUE represents the total amount of power being used by a data centre divided by the power used to run the IT equipment within the data centre, providing an industry standard for data centre energy efficiency.

“Our cooling systems account for approximately 25 per cent of our total energy usage globally,” said Raouf Abdel, executive vice president for global operations for Equinix. “With this new initiative, we can intelligently adjust the thermostat in our data centres in the same way that consumers do in their homes. Once rolled out across our current global data centre footprint, we anticipate energy efficiency improvements of as much as ten per cent in various locations.”

“Data centres are critical to our daily lives, housing the equipment and interconnecting the businesses that fuel our digital lives – from online shopping to sending emails to streaming movies and video calls,” said Jon Lin, executive vice president and general manager of data centre services for Equinix. “As more than 10,000 businesses globally rely on Equinix’s digital infrastructure, it plays a critical role in their supply chains. This initiative, once deployed, has the potential to significantly benefit these businesses as they seek to reduce the Scope 3 carbon emissions in their supply chain to meet their overall climate targets. It marks an important step in our comprehensive sustainability program and our climate-neutral commitment.”

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