The datacenter: asset of digital transformation & lever of ecological transition
June 5, 2019 – On the occasion of World Environment Day, we would like to challenge a common misconception that data centers are the major polluters of the digital age.
Of course, data centers are energy-intensive because they use air conditioning to cool their computer rooms. Nevertheless, their environmental impact must be qualified. It appears that the digital sector is responsible for 2% of global greenhouse gas emissions (GESI Smarter 2020); and of these 2%, only 25% are attributable to data centers, and the rest to user terminals such as computers, smartphones or tablets (47%) and telecommunications networks (28%) (GreenIT.fr).
It should also be noted that the development of data centers, and therefore the increase in their energy consumption, is closely linked to the explosion of digital uses and meets an increasingly important need on the part of businesses, administrations and individuals.
Data centers represent the first brick of the digital building that provides the computing power, storage and connectivity needs necessary for the deployment of IoT, artificial intelligence, smart cities…
Moreover, these buildings support the digital transformation of the economy, administrations and territories, support the increase of individual uses and connected objects and provide a secure environment for storing data that has become a strategic and sovereign asset for the government and companies.
However, progress must not be disconnected from current environmental issues and a responsible approach. Quite the contrary.
The data center industry has long been involved in reducing its environmental impacts. The European Commission’s “Code of Conduct”, a collection of good practices in this area, was developed in cooperation with data center stakeholders and adopted in 2008, before the discussions on the Grenelle de l’environnement were completed.
The efforts of the sector are also visible: between 2009 and 2016, there was a structural increase of +13% in the energy efficiency of data centers according to the European Commission.
At DATA4, we are committed to controlling our environmental footprint by using advanced, efficient and energy-efficient technologies.
During the operational phase, DATA4 manages, measures and monitors technical, energy and environmental performance indicators in accordance with current standards. Since January 2018, we have matched 100% of the consumption of our data centers in renewable energy, with a 10% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions over the year 2018.
We have also developed a tool (SMART DC) to inform our customers about their energy consumption; because we believe that we can improve the situation together by evaluating, then raising awareness among our customers about their environmental impact.
Also, far from the image of a polluter that (still) sticks to its skin, the data center represents an essential asset for digital transformation and a lever for ecological transition.