The primary purpose of any business is to provide a product or service to its customers. That is something that most of us can agree on. However, modern businesses have more responsibilities – to their staff, to the local community, and, of course, to the environment. Cutting carbon emissions is something that most businesses have recognised as important to their organisations.
Your approach to doing this will differ depending on what sort of business you are operating. Some will need to look at their waste streams, and how these can be managed. Others need to focus on staff behaviour. In a data centre, the biggest way we can cut emissions is by looking at our energy consumption. As worldwide business data across all companies doubles every 1.2 years, the amount of electricity used in data centres is growing substantially. Google’s data centres use around 0.013% of the world’s energy. To put that into context, that’s 260 million watts – the same as running 200,000 homes.
We know that generating energy using fossil fuels is not sustainable. These fuels will run out; at the end of 2011, it was estimated that there was enough coal left for just 112 years. And on top of this is the damage being caused by global warming and climate change.
There are two ways to cut carbon emissions from energy use. The first is to actually reduce how much energy we use. For a data centre, this can be done by investing in the most efficient heating and cooling available, as well as installing other energy efficient equipment, like low energy lighting.
Secondly, we can make sure the energy being used comes from a renewable source. Electricity suppliers have energy that comes from renewables, and making sure that a data centre’s energy comes from these sources can make significant carbon reductions. By sourcing the energy for our data centres from renewable sources, InTechnology has cut CO2 emissions by around 6,864 tonnes. That’s the equivalent of taking around 2,500 cars off the road.
The reality of becoming more efficient, and cutting emissions, is complex. Renewable energy comes from a variety of sources, many of which aren’t continuous. And improving efficiency cannot come at the expense of quality. But all businesses need to take responsibility for their carbon footprint, and make sure they are reducing their emissions. This is possible, and not only that, vital to help preserve the planet and reduce the impacts of climate change.