The definition of a sustainable data centre

sustainable data centre

Environmental concerns have come to the forefront of conversation over the past few years as climate change becomes an ever more tangible threat. The idea of a sustainable data centre sounds like an oxymoron at first, as IT infrastructure and networking is, after all, run on equipment that needs to be powered 24/7.

However, it is possible to establish a data centre that has a strong ecologically minded strategy and can outperform others in terms of carbon neutrality.

Sustainable data centres – Allowing you to embrace green IT

In this blog, we’ll look at the key factors of sustainability when it comes to picking a data centre. We’re pretty confident of our own green IT credentials, having designed our data centres with the aim of reducing our carbon footprint as much as possible.

Here’s where we’ll take a look at the two biggest considerations you should check when examining any data centre which claims to be sustainable.

Why PUE (Power Usage Effectiveness) is an important number

This is a ratio that describes how efficiently a computer data centre uses energy; specifically, how much energy is used by the computing equipment in contrast to cooling and other overheads. It’s the total amount of energy by used the data centre to the energy delivered to the IT equipment.

A high number is not desirable, you want to go as low as possible if you’re keen to demonstrate your environmental credentials.

The ideal PUE is 1.0, although that’s not possible for any data centre to achieve. You see, just about anything in a data centre which isn’t a computing device – and that means things like the lights, cooling equipment and security facilities – will be needing energy to function.

A typical data centre in the UK will operate at between 1.5 and 1.8. Over in European Union countries, the average tends to be 1.8, though there are some cases which are much higher. When you come across data centres operating at a PUE of 2 or more, then that means more energy is being used to provide the supporting infrastructure that is supplied to the computing equipment. 

Ensuring you have a credible carbon offset

For anyone trying to establish a truly sustainable data centre, the best practice is to minimise your carbon footprint as much as possible before starting an offsetting process.

The average UK resident has a carbon footprint estimated to be 13 tonnes of a ‘carbon dioxide equivalent’ value (CO2e). This doesn’t just include carbon, other greenhouse gases like methane and nitrous oxide, are included in this statistic. Planting mixed broadleaved woodland and leaving it to grow for 50 years would offset a typical year’s footprint if you planted 48 trees.

Where does Blue Chip fit in on this scale?

Sustainability and the aim to be a carbon-neutral organisation are top priorities for Blue Chip. We have achieved an impressive PUE of 1.1, thanks to our own patented eco-cooling system. When it comes to carbon offsetting, we partnered with local eco-minded charity the Forest of Marston Vale. Over 700,000 trees have been planted since our partnership began.

As we’re keen to make great strides in carbon neutrality, especially as the full owner of a Tier IV by design data centre (alongside a Tier 3 data centre), we plant 2,000 trees for each rack we manage. The aim is to mitigate such emissions. We also underline our commitment to carbon neutrality at our headquarters, with our company car policy to ensure staff drive only hybrid or electric vehicles.

Our ecological credentials are bolstered by a recent accolade, gaining a Climate Change Agreement accreditation from the UK ‘s Environment Agency’s Climate.

If you’re serious about committing to green IT, then Blue Chip is your ideal provider of technology and services. Get in contact with us today to build up your environmental credentials and embrace world-class service.


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