IT with an environmentally focused mindset

sustainable data centre

Many businesses around the world are now exploring how to reduce their carbon footprint, and we are no exception. We are all very aware of our actions and the effect our standards of living, as the human race, are having on the planet, and I ask at which point do we take it seriously? 

Seriously enough that each one of us takes affirmative action to try and neutralise our own, personal carbon footprint?

While there is no definitive answer to these questions, Blue Chip understands the importance of changing habits, perceptions and our contributions to the planet. It’s why we have made key changes to offset our footprint. 

A sustainable data centre

The world’s data centres use an estimated 200 terawatt hours (TWh) of electricity every year, which eclipses the national energy consumption of Iran. Overall, the global carbon footprint of the ICT industry is reported to be over 2% of global carbon emissions. From these figures, you could well believe that technology and sustainability don’t belong in the same sentence as each other.

With careful planning and design, it’s possible for a data centre to vastly reduce its carbon footprint. We should know, we’ve achieved just that at our sites.

The PUE (Power Usage Effectiveness) metric is the most popular method of calculating the energy efficiency of a data centre. The UK average PUE for data centres is 1.8, while 1.2 is considered a benchmark for a ‘low’ PUE.

With a PUE of 1.13, we are proud to have the most energy-efficient data centre in the UK, along with carbon neutrality. This is largely down to using our patented eco-cooling system in our data centres, instead of the far more common air conditioning systems.

Tree planting

Blue Chip has an ongoing partnership with the Forest of Marston Vale, where we have already planted over 700,000 trees since our partnership began. As part of our commitment to our carbon neutrality, we plant 2,000 trees for each rack we manage within our data centre, to mitigate these emissions.

When the charity began, the area was only 3% populated by woodland, which is one third of the national average. The project so far has seen over 2,000,000 trees planted, with a target of 5,000,000 more to come and 30% tree cover. 

Change of energy supplier

Blue Chip’s energy bill for 2019 was in excess of £1m. With our current energy contract soon due for renewal, we decided we would look at our options. There are two key factors for choosing a new energy supplier:

  1. Reduce our electricity costs
  2. Ensure our electricity was from green/renewable sources

We weren’t willing to compromise on these, so we sent out a Request For Proposal (RFP) to 18 companies, which included the ‘big five’ energy suppliers. Our shortlisting process showed there were 3 candidates who could satisfy our criteria.

The board at Blue Chip decided to award a 12-month contract to one of these, resulting in a tariff that delivers 100% renewable energy sources for all our sites and significant savings in costs.

Beach clean-up

We are big on giving back, and one of the ways we do this is through volunteering days. With our volunteering scheme, each of our staff are given 2 days a year to volunteer and assist local causes or charities. A staff member can decide to do this any date throughout the year, as well as taking part in some of Blue Chip’s more regular outings.

From planting trees at the Forest of Marston Vale to litter picking at the local lake or clearing up deadwood and plastic around Hunstanton beach, we are actively encouraged to take these volunteering days to tidy up and support these areas.

Company car scheme

Like a lot of companies out there, we have our own company car scheme. However, what makes our scheme different to several others is that we are now 100% electric vehicles only. This further bolsters our commitment to green credentials by offsetting emissions produced by petrol and diesel vehicles.

Everything we do, we do with efficiency in mind. We understand the importance of taking responsibility and keeping on top of our own emissions and contributions to the planet. We each need to play our part where we can.

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