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    How Can Changing Your Data Centre Reduce Your Carbon Footprint? 

    AI generated image of a data centres within in a green forest

    How Can Changing Your Data Centre Reduce Your Carbon Footprint? 

    As increasing numbers of SMEs are waking up to the fact that corporate customers, consumers and investors are making demands for a change in their environmental behaviour, the smartest ones realise that this demand creates an opportunity to gain competitive advantage. But while most are focused on addressing the early stages of decarbonising their businesses through exploring renewables, EV car fleets, LED lighting and waste recycling, the pioneers have moved on to what could be termed the hidden emissions.  

     One such area of hidden emissions comes from the use of data centres. 

    At IQ in IT we work with our data centres to ensure that our customers are already addressing this issue, some of the benefits of our data centres include:

    Water-Cooling Technology: Using advanced water-cooling systems to efficiently cool their servers. This technology significantly reduces energy consumption compared to traditional air cooling, leading to lower operational costs and enhanced energy efficiency.   

    Carbon Footprint Reduction: Strategically placing data centres in cool climates to leverage natural cooling and minimise energy use. This approach, combined with optimised server production processes, helps to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.   

    Sustainable Infrastructure: Controlling infrastructure design and operation, from hardware to data centre management. This end-to-end control ensures a scalable, high-performance cloud solution with minimal environmental impact.  

    Circular Economy: Incorporating circular economy principles by recycling and reusing IT components, giving second and third lives to their main components. This reduces electronic waste and promotes sustainability within the supply chain.  

    Commitment to Carbon Neutrality: Focusing on using renewable energy sources and implementing innovative environmental technologies with a target to achieve carbon neutrality by 2025. 

    By transitioning to more eco-friendly data centres, businesses can significantly reduce their carbon footprint and embrace a greener future.  

    The Environmental Impact of Data Centres 

    Data centres are essential to the digital operations of SMEs, powering everything from websites to cloud services. However, they are also significant consumers of electricity and generate a substantial amount of heat, requiring energy-intensive cooling systems and water. Data centres worldwide contribute to nearly 2% of global carbon emissions—a figure that is expected to rise as digital demand grows. 

    Last year an article in The Times caused a big stir in the business community with the headline:  “AI’s thirst for knowledge is bad for global water supplies.”  

    It opened with the statement “Chat GPT needs to “drink” a bottle of water every time you bombard it with queries, a study shows” and went on to say “According to researchers at the universities of California and Texas, for every 10 to 50 questions it is asked the chatbot consumes 500ml of water.” 

    In the Times article it stated that Microsoft admits its global water consumption increased by 34% in one year to a staggering 1.7bn gallons!  1.7 billion gallons. 

    Google’s language model LaMDA needs a million litres of water for its training function alone and in a recent report the search giant admitted that 90% of its water consumption for cooling comes from the utilities. In other words, drinking water! 

    Microsoft is actively working on sustainability by incorporating various strategies, including significant investments in renewable energy and is aiming to be carbon negative by 2030 and Google has committed to replenishing 120% of the water it consumes by that date too.

    How many CEOs, or even CIOs, think about this when considering their choice of data centre?  Let’s look at the benefits and strategies for achieving a more sustainable data infrastructure. 

    Benefits of Switching to Eco-Friendly Data Centres 

    Reduced Energy Consumption Modern, eco-friendly data centres use cutting-edge technologies and best practices to optimise energy use. This includes high-efficiency cooling systems, energy-efficient servers, and improved facility designs that reduce energy wastage. 

    Lower Carbon Emissions By utilising renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, or hydroelectric power, green data centres can significantly reduce carbon emissions compared to those reliant on fossil fuels. 

    Cost Savings While the initial investment in greener technology can be substantial, the long-term savings from reduced energy consumption and potential tax incentives for sustainable practices can often offset these costs. 

    Enhanced Reputation Demonstrating a commitment to sustainability can enhance your brand’s reputation, attracting environmentally conscious customers and investors. 

    Strategies for Reducing Your Data Centre’s Carbon Footprint 

    Assess Your Current Data Centre’s Efficiency 

    Start with a thorough audit of your existing data centre’s energy consumption and efficiency. Identify areas where energy is being wasted and opportunities for improvement. 

    Adopt Renewable Energy Sources 

    Transition to data centres powered by renewable energy. Many providers offer data centre services powered entirely by green energy.  

    Implement Energy-Efficient Technologies 

    Switch your data centre to one that invests in energy-efficient servers and cooling systems. Technologies like liquid cooling, AI-driven energy management (although this in itself is quite ironic!) and advanced HVAC systems can substantially reduce energy usage. 

    Optimise Data Management 

    Efficient data management practices, such as data deduplication and compression, can reduce storage needs and, consequently, energy consumption. Does your data centre do this as a matter of course? 

    Consider Location 

    The geographical location of a data centre can impact its energy efficiency. Colder climates can reduce the need for artificial cooling, while proximity to renewable energy sources can facilitate greener power supply. 

    Regular Maintenance and Upgrades 

    Regularly maintaining and upgrading equipment ensures that your data centre operates at peak efficiency. Do they replace outdated equipment with newer more efficient models to continuously reduce their (and therefore your) carbon footprint? 

    Switching to an eco-friendlier data centre is a practical and impactful way for SMEs to reduce their carbon footprint. Not only does it benefit the environment, but it can also lead to cost savings and an enhanced corporate reputation and by implementing energy-efficient technologies, utilising renewable energy, and optimising data management, businesses can make significant strides towards sustainability. Embracing these changes not only positions your business as a leader in sustainability but also contributes to a greener future for all. 

    If you need help to review the efficiency of your business data storage, get in touch with us today and one of our team will be more than happy to help you identify a cost effective and sustainable solution.  

    How Can Changing Your Data Centre Reduce Your Carbon Footprint?
    Article Name
    How Can Changing Your Data Centre Reduce Your Carbon Footprint?
    Discover how switching to an eco-friendly data centre can help your SME reduce its carbon footprint, save on energy costs, and enhance its reputation. Learn practical strategies for a sustainable data infrastructure.
    Publisher Name
    IQ in IT LTD
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