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Schneider Electric has published a five-part datacentre sustainability-focused framework that is designed to help operators minimise the environmental impacts of their facilities.
The power systems management firm is billing the framework as an industry-first, which is designed to help operators make their sites more environmentally friendly regardless of how far advanced their sustainability efforts are.
The framework sets out to achieve this by helping to focus the minds of datacentre operators on five measurable areas. These include monitoring how much energy their facilities use, the amount of greenhouse gases they generate, their water consumption habits, as well as how much waste is made during the construction and operation of these sites, and the impact they have on biodiversity.
The toll that datacentres take on the environment is coming under increased scrutiny from environmental policy makers, governments, regulators and sustainability lobbyists, prompting many operators to announce net-zero carbon and energy usage reduction targets in recent years.
For example, at the start of 2021, more than 25 of colocation and cloud firms announced a collaboration with various technology trade associations dubbed the Climate Neutral Data Centre Pact, as a show of their commitment to cutting their carbon emissions.
However, according to Schneider, many datacentre operators lack the in-house expertise needed to improve their site’s environmental track records or are “daunted” by the array of metrics that exist to track the performance of their facilities from a sustainability point of view.
The framework, which was developed by the members of Schneider Electric’s Energy Management Research Centre, is geared towards taking the “guesswork out of measurement and reporting”, it added.
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Pankaj Sharma, executive vice-president of the secure power division at Schneider Electric, said the framework should also help the industry standardise how it implements, measures and reports its environmental impacts.
“Schneider Electric developed a holistic framework with standardised metrics to guide operators and the industry at large,” said Sharma. “Our intention with this framework is to improve benchmarking and progress toward environmental sustainability to protect natural resources for future generations.”
Rob Brothers, programme vice-president for datacentre and support services and IT market watcher IDC, said the framework should also help bolster the efforts that many players have already embarked upon to improve the environmental friendliness of their datacentres.
“The datacentre industry has made significant progress in increasing energy efficiency; however, as digital demands increase, they must remain committed to driving long-term broader sustainability initiatives,” he said.
“You can’t have an impact on what you don’t measure, therefore companies must establish clear and consistent metrics that account for not only efficient technology, but also the consumption (or possible destruction) of natural resources such as water, land and biodiversity.”