Clean Energy Options for Data Centers
As the world spins ever off into the future, there is an increasing demand for clean energy in various industries, and this is growing to include data centers. Clean energy may not be the least expensive option out there, but renewable energy has, over the last few years, become a great deal more competitive with more traditional energy generation methods. Many consumers, however, find themselves considering how data centers source their energy when choosing a data center provider. Data center consumers want more options powered by clean energy; around 33% of consumers, in fact, ranked renewable energy powering their data centers among the most important factors when choosing a provider, and current data suggests that this interest is growing.
What Clean Energy Options Are Available for Data Centers?
Chances are that you’ve seen solar panels before, even if they are small panels powering an electric sign or large solar farms. Imagine a solar farm large enough to power a data center. It isn’t easy, due to the capacity of each solar panel, but several companies have undertaken the endeavor, including Google and Intel. If you have the space to create a solar farm or if you have local access to one, this could be an option to at least reduce your fossil-fuel-generated energy usage.
Data centers are using wind power to cut energy costs and boost renewable energy usage, but an increasing number of data centers are actually powered entirely by the wind. Some use wind-generated energy from utility companies to power their data centers, while others use this form of clean energy by building their own wind turbines near their data centers. Like solar power, the initial cost can be daunting, but if you have the means and the space for it, wind power could be a viable alternative energy source for your data center.
You might not think of using geothermal energy to cool a data center, but that’s exactly what some companies in the U.S. and Iceland are doing. By drilling vertically into the ground and setting up a closed pipe system, water/coolant can absorb heat from the data center, filter down into the ground to use the Earth’s naturally cooler underground as a heat exchanger, and bring cooler water back up to the data center. Additionally, geothermal energy generated by volcanic rifts and vents can generate electricity to power data centers with renewable energy.
Waste Heat Reclamation
Data center companies around the world, including IBM, are using waste heat reclamation to reduce their impact and their energy costs. While the waste heat from the data center does not help the server rooms, it can be used to heat other areas of the building in colder months, control temperatures in greenhouses, heat swimming pools or homes, and so much more. Whatever the use of the waste heat, waste heat reclamation is a growing practice among data centers to promote clean energy practices.
Another Innovative Way Data Centers are Using Clean Energy
Sometimes, you just have to get creative when looking into clean energy for data centers. One company in France is actually partnering with Nissan to power their data center with used electric car batteries, which not only prevents the company from needing fossil-fuel-generating electricity but also prevents the car batteries from immediate disposal, possibly adding further environmental benefits.
Set Up Your Data Center to Further Improve Energy Efficiency
It’s important to make sure your company isn’t wasting energy and that you are optimizing efficiency in your data center, regardless of what type of energy you use to power it. How you plan, power, and manage your data center heavily influences the costs of powering it, even if you are using clean energy options.
For more information on properly designing your data center to make the most of your energy on a financially and environmentally responsible level, check out our article on data center energy efficiency.
Responsible energy sourcing and usage benefit everyone. At C1C, we design and implement data center layout and cabling plans that can help maximize your data center’s energy efficiency and, therefore, minimize your carbon footprint, even if you can’t afford to venture into fully renewable energy just yet. And if you can, you’ll want to optimize how that renewable energy is used for the lowest cost and impact possible. We work within your budget and timeline to design and implement an ideal data center design for your situation. Give us a call at 855-TECH-C1C (855-832-4212) or contact us online to learn more or schedule your FREE consultation.