The Open Compute Project Foundation (OCP), a non-profit organisation bringing hyperscale innovations to all, has announced that Sustainability is to become the focus of a new top-level project, as well as the fifth tenet driving the organisations core beliefs to ensure that all work efforts across all OCP Projects have a focus on sustainability, as a core action, that is designed in from the start.
OCP’s Sustainability top-level project will set reporting targets, monitor and plan compliance with external regulations and best practices, develop high level sustainability KPIs that go beyond traditional data centre measures such as power usage effectiveness (PUE), and assemble sustainability technology and process roadmaps for the larger OCP Community to follow under the OCP’s new Sustainability Tenet.
Sustainability efforts carried out across the OCP will focus on technology specific implementations of the directions set by its new OCP Sustainability Project. Currently within the OCP there are sustainability efforts in cooling environments involving increasing thermal management efficiency with liquid based cooling technologies such as immersion and cold plate cooling and heat re-use. Beyond thermal optimisations, data centre facilities efforts are working to optimise carbon associated from operations and data centre facilities construction, and the manufacturing of IT equipment.
Designing for circularity is also an important focus to positively control the lifecycle of IT physical infrastructure. For example, firmware needs to be open to promote reuse and improve long term sustainability. OCP Foundation hardware specifications will continue to evolve to enable products to remain in use for as long as possible, and design for circularity to enable infrastructure within the data centre to be repurposed, and ultimately enable component and material recovery when decommissioned.
“The OCP community has a responsibility to contribute towards reducing the environmental impact of the industry, and drive conversations within their influence to impact technologies deployed in the data centres. The tenets of the OCP foster openness that enables mainstream delivery of the most efficient designs for scalable computing and uniquely positions OCP to be an effective agent for climate action. Adding a mandate for sustainability looking at transparency, circularity, and embodied carbon in IT equipment, silicon and data centre facilities will add significant weight to our ability to help the industry minimise its impact on the environment,” said George Tchaparian, CEO Open Compute Project Foundation.
To decouple the industry’s predicted growth from its environmental impact, the hyperscale and colocation data centre industry will need to accelerate existing and future sustainability strategies and solutions to reduce overall environmental impact. OCP believes it can have the most effective and immediate impact on supply chain by developing standardised metrics and promotion of data transparency across value chain, standards for transfer of ownership, by helping to embed circularity from the early life cycle and design stages across the range of IT infrastructure, including building facilities and IT equipment, and with education and awareness.