The Future of Data Center Energy Management

Data Center CIM Module

An 18-month study conducted by scholars at Rice University found that given current and expected growth trends, the amount of greenhouse gas emissions originating from data centers will more than triple by 2020. With this in mind, data-driven companies are devoting more resources to developing energy efficient solutions for their data management. One possibility receiving international attention is the idea of climate and resource-oriented siting.

The presence of a consistently cool climate along with availability of renewable electricity sources can significantly impact a data center’s environmental footprint. Countries like Canada, Findland, Sweden, and Switzerland (among others) are touting their low-volatility climates as long-term solutions for data center energy management. Google, Hewlett-Packard, and global technology consulting firm Capgemini have recently migrated or installed data centers in Finland, where natural cooling power and availability of local renewable energy are providing major reductions in costs related to cooling and electricity generation. Recently, Global Power Supply managed the construction of Facebook’s new data management facility in Prineville, Oregon, a region also characterized by a stable, cool climate. With vast expanses of undeveloped or under-utilized land available, the number of major corporations centralizing their data management in these types of regions is set for a long period of growth. As new data consumption figures continue growing, siting methods are becoming a key strategy in the development of eco-friendly data centers. Here are some recent figures:

• The power density of larger facilities now consistently exceeds more than 100 times the demand of their own office building.

• The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that server and data centers account for up to 1.5 percent of total U.S. electricty consumption.

• For data-reliant companies like Cisco, Google, or Facebook running these high density facilities, electricity costs can account for over 10% of the data center’s operating expenses.

• The cost of power in some data centers has exceeded the original capital investment. However, this rapid rise in power demand also increases the emitted byproducts of these facilities as well.

• Five years ago, around two percent of global carbon emissions could be attributed to the information and communication technologies sector, with data centers accounting for 14 percent of that footprint.

With consumer and technical data becoming an increasingly valuable asset in generating revenue, the market for energy efficient data centers is set on a long course of expansion. Companies that get in early and establish themselves as leaders in data management will enjoy the fruits of their labor for many fiscal years to come. Visit to see how our Data Center and Project Management divisions can get you started on the path to efficient and responsible data management.