Overcoming Barriers to a Sustainable Future

September 9, 2021

As environmental regulations evolve, and businesses demand greener solutions, data centres must build sustainability into their ongoing strategies. The sustainability challenges are diverse including spiralling energy consumption, restrictions on water usage and curbs on greenhouse gas emissions. And with the rise of 5G that will herald a new age of connectivity demand for data services will continue to rise. Swedish researcher and author Anders Andrae calculates that, in a worst-case scenario, data centres could account for seven per cent of global electricity demand by 2030, exactly one-third of the demand projected for the entire ICT industry. Faced with the dilemma many of the largest data centre providers have created plans for environmental initiatives in response. But a full commitment to sustainability necessitates a cradle to grave approach – environmental ambitions must be built into every aspect of data centre design, construction and operation.

Sessions from this talk

Data is growing at an unmanageable rate. Organizations have all the tools to collect vast quantities of data but precious few skills to manage and organize it. Everywhere, we see data overload. 1.4 trillion photos were taken in 2020. We took more photos in 2020 than in the entire 20th Century. 8 trillion photos are currently being stored in the Cloud. How many of those will ever be looked at again? 120 trillion spam are sent every year. Over 5 trillion emails with attachments are sent every year. 94% of those attachments are never opened. Waste. Monumental waste. A typical data center is like a digital landfill. At some stage, organizations and individuals are going to wake up to the fact that they’re paying a lot of money to have their trash stored. We need new ways of thinking about and dealing with data waste.
Understanding why the data centre industry is striving to become more sustainable is necessary to determine company objectives and develop solutions to the complex problems that lie before us. At the nexus between energy efficiency, renewable energy, and the data economy, data centres are uniquely positioned to take a leading role in supporting the development of green solutions, helping us achieve our net-zero ambitions. Amanda Sutton shares her expertise in setting long-term sustainability goals and explains why collaboration between stakeholders is a critical element for a business to become a better corporate citizen
A somewhat informed and perhaps a bit opinionated talk on the issues we must contend with as we drive towards an ever more renewable energy, highly recycled, sustainable future with or without taping into the mythical powers of the purple unicorn. In all seriousness we will examine the benefits and unintended consequences of renewable energy both at scale and the local level. We will take a similar if not more inquisitive look at many other aspects of sustainability including energy storage, IT kit recycling/repurposing, Edge / 5G deployments and the prodigious birth rate of towers upon our landscape and the RF energy that comes with them, and a topic that we as industry professionals and individual consumers should take to heart – the long, hidden (if not deliberately obscured) sustainability issues surrounding our supply chains. This session will help you begin to overcome some of the many barriers to improving your sustainability by learning how to ask some simple but challenging questions such as; what am I not seeing, who are these people and why are they saying X, are there other options and what are their potential ramifications, and why is there no such thing as a free lunch?
Is humankind entering the sunset years with our poor management of this very thin and fragile atmospheric layer that coats the planet? September 1971 saw a very voluminous Scientific American issue published that covered all aspects of energy requirements of humans during the agricultural, industrial, and now the information revolutions – the relationship between energy and information is an interesting one since digitalisation both consumes and reduces our overall consumption of energy. We will look at the future of energy and information through the eyes of Maxwell, Boltzmann, Szilard, Landauer, Feynman and many others who have shaped our current technological position.

Speakers in this Session


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