In today’s rapidly evolving digital landscape, data centres play a crucial role in storing, managing, and processing vast amounts of information. However, the growing demand for data centres has raised concerns about their environmental impact.

To address these concerns, many companies are building sustainable data centres prioritizing renewable energy usage, energy efficiency, and adherence to ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) standards. This article will explore the top 10 sustainable data centre companies leading the way in creating a more sustainable future.

What Does it Mean for a Data Centre to Be Sustainable?

Before diving into the top 10 sustainable data centre companies, it is important to understand what it means for a data centre to be sustainable. A sustainable data centre minimizes its environmental impact while maximizing its operational efficiency. This includes utilizing renewable energy sources, implementing energy-efficient infrastructure, and adopting ESG standards to ensure responsible and ethical practices.

Sustainable data centres encompass a range of features that distinguish them from conventional data centres. Energy-efficient infrastructure is a key characteristic involving advanced cooling systems, efficient server architectures, and intelligent power distribution systems. By optimizing energy consumption, these centres can reduce their environmental impact.

How do sustainable data centres contribute to sustainability?

Sustainable data centres contribute to sustainability in several ways. Firstly, they rely on the usage of renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, and hydroelectric power. By shifting away from fossil fuels and harnessing clean energy, data centres can reduce their carbon footprint and promote a greener energy transition.

Secondly, efficient data centre design and management are crucial aspects of sustainability. Sustainable data centres optimize their infrastructure by adopting energy-efficient technologies, implementing effective cooling systems, and utilizing virtualization techniques to enhance resource utilization. Each company’s practices regarding its operations minimize energy wastage and maximize efficiency.

Furthermore, sustainable data centres actively participate in initiatives like the Climate Neutral Data Centre Pact, which aims to achieve climate neutrality for data centres in Europe by 2030. By joining such initiatives, data centre companies demonstrate their commitment to sustainability and collaborate with industry peers to drive positive change.

Top 10 Data Centres Globally

Here are the top choices for sustainable data centres from the world’s most influential technology companies:

   1. Google Cloud

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Google Cloud is a real leader in green energy. They became carbon neutral in 2007 and later matched all their energy use with renewable energy, a first for a major company. Their future goal is to eliminate their carbon footprint and run on 24/7 carbon-free energy in all their global data centers by 2030.

Google uses cool tech like cooling economizers and free cooling with low-temperature air to make their data centers more efficient. They also optimize airflow and run their IT equipment at warmer temperatures to save energy on cooling. As a result, their data centers use 50% less energy than typical ones. Google sets a great example in sustainability and technology innovation for others to follow.

2. Digital Realty

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Digital Realty, a data center company, received the 2021 EPA Energy Star Partner of the Year Sustained Excellence Award for its energy efficiency efforts. It’s the first data center worldwide to achieve 1GW of sustainable IT capacity and also has 64% renewable energy coverage, which increased by 14% in just a year.

In 2021, Digital Realty made remarkable progress by adding 118MW of solar and wind power to its energy grid. It also issued two green bonds, bringing the total value of its green bonds since 2015 to $6bn. Their US and European portfolios achieved 100% renewable energy coverage, and their French portfolio is carbon neutral.

3. Schneider Electric

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A data center company, Schneider Electric‘s shows how the industry can become sustainable and compete with others. In 2021, it was named the world’s most sustainable company and the top PPA marketplace solution provider for 2022 by Guidehouse Insights.

Schneider focuses on green energy, like their EcoStruxure Smart Grid, which made 40% of Italy’s energy renewable. They aim to provide 50 million people with green electricity by 2025 and offer an Alternative Power Generation Technologies course as part of their Schneider Electric University Data Centre Certified Associate program. Schneider’s dedication to sustainability sets it apart in the data center world.

4. Ark Data Centres

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Ark Data Centres is a highly efficient data center company in the UK. They are dedicated to minimizing their environmental impact and have fully integrated an environmental management system into their operations. They are committed to the European Green Deal and aim to achieve ambitious greenhouse gas reductions to make Europe climate neutral by 2050.

5. Equinix

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Equinix is a leader in data center efficiency, with green energy as a top priority. They use 100% clean, renewable energy and maintain high energy-efficiency standards at all their sites. Equinix aims for LEED Silver (or equivalent) certifications for all new builds on its global platform.

Equinix has invested over $129 million in energy efficiency upgrades for its data centers to stay committed. They are dedicated to being at the forefront of sustainability and energy efficiency in the data center industry.

6. NTT Communications and NTT Anode Energy

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In 2022, NTT Communications Corporation (NTT Com) and NTT Anode Energy (NTT AE) introduced a power menu for clients using NTT Com’s data centers. This menu offered renewable energy choices to help clients achieve their decarbonization goals and reduce CO2 emissions.

It supported environmental initiatives like “Renewable Energy 100%” (RE100) and the Act on Promotion of Global Warming Countermeasures. Using renewable energy with additionality, like off-site power purchase agreements, also assisted clients in their ESG management efforts.

7. Eu Climate Neutral Data Centre

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The EU Climate Neutral Data Centre (CNDC) is a leading data center initiative committed to achieving carbon neutrality in the industry. The CNDC aims to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions from data centers and promote sustainability in the sector.

To be recognized as a Climate Neutral Data Centre, companies must demonstrate their commitment to using renewable energy sources and implementing energy-efficient technologies. They also focus on reducing energy consumption and employing innovative cooling and power management solutions.

By achieving carbon neutrality, these data centers play a crucial role in mitigating climate change and reducing the environmental impact of digital infrastructure. The EU Climate Neutral Data Centre initiative sets a high standard for data center operators and drives the industry towards a more sustainable and climate-friendly future.

8. Iron Mountain

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 Iron Mountain sets an example in the data center industry’s sustainability efforts. It operates on 100% renewable energy, actively participates in carbon credit assistance, and maintains a low PUE (Power Usage Effectiveness). With ambitious goals, Iron Mountain aims to achieve net zero emissions and 100% clean electricity by 2040, a decade ahead of the Paris Climate Accord. 

As a signatory to the EU Climate Neutral Data Centre Pact, the company strives for carbon neutrality by 2030. Its dedication to sustainability sets a benchmark for others in the industry to follow.

9. AirTrunk

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In the Asia-Pacific region, we have AirTrunk, a company founded in 2015 with a vision to create cutting-edge data centers for today’s and tomorrow’s technology giants. They focus on meeting the needs of influential tech companies worldwide.

AirTrunk is also dedicated to sustainability. They prioritize water efficiency and conserve water in their operations. They are committed to supporting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Climate Agreement, demonstrating their devotion to a greener and more sustainable future.

10. Switch

switch logo

Switch has been a leading advocate for green energy, setting an impressive example in the data center industry. Since January 2016, their data centers have been powered by 100% renewable energy. This pioneering commitment to sustainability has earned them recognition from Greenpeace, receiving the highest rating in their Clicking Clean Report for any company in its class.

Moreover, Switch stands out as the only company to receive S&P Global’s highest Environmental Rating (E-1). They have also earned top peer group scores for social and governance standards. Their dedication to sustainability and responsible practices make them a standout in the field, showcasing the potential for environmentally-conscious data centers.

What are Some Features of Sustainable Data Centres?

Utilization of renewable energy sources is another prominent feature of sustainable data centres. Companies like Schneider Electric and Ark Data Centres prioritize using renewable energy to power their operations. This reduces reliance on fossil fuels and supports the transition toward a more sustainable energy mix.

In addition, the adoption of new ESG standards is integral to sustainable data centres. These companies incorporate environmental, social, and governance factors into their business practices, ensuring responsible operations and sustainability.

The top 10 sustainable data centre companies have been recognized for their long-term commitments to sustainability and their efforts to create a more environmentally conscious data centre industry. These companies lead the way in integrating sustainable practices into their operations and serve as role models for the industry as a whole. Their dedication to sustainability sets them apart as influential technology companies today.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the top sustainable data centre companies?

The top sustainable data centre companies well-known globally include all mentioned in this article.

What is a data centre?

A data centre is a facility that houses computer systems and associated components, such as telecommunications and storage systems.

How do sustainable data centres contribute to environmental conservation?

Sustainable data centres focus on energy efficiency and renewable energy sources to minimize their carbon footprint.

What is the significance of ESG in sustainable data centres?

ESG stands for Environmental, Social, and Governance. It is an important factor in measuring data centre companies’ sustainability and ethical practices.

Which data centre company has received the highest rating for sustainability?

Schneider has been designated as the most sustainable company in the world.

Are there any data centre companies aiming to go carbon neutral by 2030?

Yes, Iron Mountain hopes to have achieved carbon neutrality by 2030 by global climate goals.

What is the role of renewable energy in sustainable data centres?

Sustainable data centre companies prioritize using renewable energy sources to power their operations and minimize their environmental impact.

How do sustainable data centres contribute to water conservation?

Sustainable data centres implement water efficiency measures to minimize water consumption and conserve this valuable resource.

Which data centre company is considered a leader in energy efficiency?

Equinix is well-known for its commitment to energy efficiency and has set an example for other companies to follow.

Takeaway

In conclusion, sustainable data centres have emerged as a critical component of the digital infrastructure landscape. These data centres prioritize renewable energy usage, energy efficiency, and adherence to ESG standards to minimize their environmental impact and contribute to global sustainability goals.

The top 10 sustainable data centre companies are at the forefront of this movement, driving positive change by incorporating sustainable practices into their design, operations, and long-term strategies. By prioritizing sustainability, these companies are shaping the future of the data centre industry and paving the way for a more sustainable digital ecosystem.

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