In the past, ‘green’ was hardly associated with data centres.

However, in recent times, data centres have become an increasingly useful driver in the decarbonization of the energy grid. They’re also decarbonizing their assets via heat reuse and those of the communities they’re in through innovative district cooling and heating projects.

What is a green data centre?

To be truly green, a data centre needs to be consuming 24/7 Carbon Free Energy (CFE). This can be achieved through a combination of grid supplied power (such as corporate power purchase agreements), onsite generation and renewable backup, as well as thermal and/or electrical energy storage.

Secondly, community support is a key role of the green data centre, achieved by integrating into the local energy ecosystem. In the same vein, these facilities can also support the grid thanks to capacity and ancillary services.

Lastly, it’s also incredibly important that green ideas and expectations are established early in the data centre lifecycle. When planning a green data centre, its physical location is critical; how will it tie into greater planning across the neighborhood? How will it be connected to the grid?

Turning obstacles into opportunities

Not only can data centres help decarbonize the grid, but stabilize it too. This is where they become part of the solution, with grid operators able to place data centre clusters in strategic places to help balance things out. By providing the right compute power in the right places, these facilities can quite literally grow an economy, acting as an asset to not only help create jobs, but draw in investment opportunities that otherwise would not have existed.

Global goal, global effort

Evidently, achieving green status is no easy feat. Decarbonization is a huge piece of the sustainability puzzle and won’t be achieved through one solution alone or by one company. And despite data centres attempting to differentiate from their competitors through advanced sustainability programs, collaboration is needed to reach true sustainability. It’s a commitment that traverses the entire data centre lifecycle, from planning and design to construction and operation, all the way through to the lifespan of IT equipment.

Discover how ENGIE helps drive the integration of green strategy, technology and knowledge to decarbonize data centres and make green data centres a reality.