Building data centers on greener pastures

A look at how eco-friendly features in a Singapore data center yielded savings in electricity costs, with more pressure on such facilities to adopt sustainable technologies.
Written by Ryan Huang, Contributor

With rising energy prices and increasing public sensitivity to environmental issues, there is more pressure on data centers to adopt more sustainable technologies. These are energy-intensive facilities, with energy consumption contributing to half of their operating expenses.

One data center operator that has implemented eco-friendly features is Equinix, which operates in 13 countries around the world and has two data centers in Singapore.

Some green features that Equinix has implemented include energy-efficient LED lights and fan systems; motion sensors to reduce heat and electricity consumption; a cold aisle containment infrastructure to make cooling more efficient; and the use of recycled water for cooling purposes.

The company's energy-efficient practices have helped it to save 30 percent in electricity costs, with some areas achieving breakeven on investments in as fast as 18 months, said Clement Goh, managing director for South Asia at Equinix.

He added there has been growing interest from customers over the past two years in environmentally-friendly features, possibly because of their corporate social responsibility (CSR) agendas which have been growing in importance.

"Two years ago, there was nobody asking about green features; now over the past 12 months, at least 30 percent ask if we have green features at our data center," Goh said.

The managing director added it will be more inclined to build its future data centers from scratch instead of leasing the facility as this would allow the company to better integrate eco-friendly features into the physical design.

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