Three Key Sustainability Elements: Water, Circularity and Siting

This report covers the final three data center sustainability elements: water use management; circularity standards; and siting and design factors. Water management strategies are dictated by the data center cooling system(s) — managers must minimize water use. Circularity considerations include end-of-life product recycling and reuse, the use of recycled materials, and heat recovery. The siting and design of a new data center and / or the selection of a colocation or cloud facility set the boundaries for the sustainability strategy for all the associated IT.

Key Findings:

  • Operators currently have significant latitude to design their sustainability framework and strategy to fit their business, meeting some — but usually not all — expectations.

  • Managers need to track future mandates as they develop so they can anticipate requirements and appropriately modify their sustainability strategy.

  • Data center operators should develop and explain workable facility and IT efficiency metrics, which they can use to inform and influence those proposing emerging mandates and standards.

  • Operators need a clearly defined, consistent set of standards and sustainability reporting requirements. Where opportunities exist, operators should provide guidance to regulators and participate in the rulemaking process.

Report Authors:

  • Jay Dietrich, Research Director of Sustainability Uptime Institute
  • Andy Lawrence, Executive Director of Research Uptime Institute

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