Google datacentres awarded ISO 50001 certification

Google has obtained ISO 50001 certification for its energy management systems in six datacentre facilities across the US

Google has become the first North American company to obtain ISO 50001 certification for its energy management systems in several datacentre facilities in the US.

The International Organization for Standardization’s (ISO) 50001 certification supports organisations in all sectors to use energy more efficiently. It provides a framework of requirements for companies, such as developing an energy efficiency policy, measuring the performance of energy-efficient systems and planning continual energy management strategies.

Google developed a comprehensive energy management system (EnMS) for use in its corporate datacentre as well six other US facilities in Oklahoma, Oregon, Iowa, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina.

“Our facilities use 50% less energy than most other datacentres and we’re constantly pushing ourselves to be even more efficient with the energy we use,” said Joe Kava, Google's vice-president for datacentres.

ISO 50001 is built around a “plan-do-check-act” concept, Kava said on Google’s Green blog. “This concept ensures we have a strong energy policy, implement sound processes that strengthen our EnMS, build a robust auditing program, continually monitor, assess and respond to our energy efficiency results.”

Based on the requirements in the standard, Google developed itsEnMS that is appropriate for its energy culture and the company’s datacentre managers continuously challenge energy performance goals, improve datacentre designs for power optimisation, and develop robust monitoring systems, he explained.

Among the measures Google takes to cut its power use are building custom servers, installing temperature control systems, using “free-cooling” techniques such as outside air or reused water for cooling, measuring PUE and redesigning how power is distributed to reduce unnecessary energy loss.

Google uses renewable energy resources and recycles all the IT equipment that is out of use in its datacentres. It also recently entered into an agreement with the Grand River Dam Authority (GRDA) to use 48MW of wind energy to power its Oklahoma datacentre.

“We plan to expand our current certification [50001] to include our European datacentres in the coming months,” Kava said. Google has three datacentres in Europe, in Ireland, Belgium and Finland.

Previously, the search engine giant’s US and European datacentres have received voluntary ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 energy performance certifications. 

ISO 50001 was launched in 2011 at the Geneva International Conference Centre (CICG) in Switzerland. “Energy is no longer a technical issue, but a management issue with an impact on the bottom line and the time to address the issue is now,” ISO’s secretary general Rob Steele said at its launch.

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