Data centers require massive amounts of energy to run. Powering servers and controlling the temperature of the buildings that house them place increasing demands on the energy grid. A widely cited 2016 report from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory indicates that at the time data centers accounted for 1.8% of electricity consumption in the United States. This percentage is likely to have increased given the growing data center market.
Concern over the energy cost and sustainability of this market has spurred increasing efforts to cut energy usage and reduce equipment waste. The green data center market is projected to grow to some $24.2 billion dollars by 2028.
Data center operators are now eager to display their sustainability bona fides. One mechanism of doing so is through independent data center sustainability certification. Among the most rigorous is the Data Center Efficiency Evolution Program, or DEEP, introduced in 2021. (DEEP is run by InformationWeek's parent company, Informa.) During a DEEP evaluation, data centers are measured against over 70 best practices in airflow management, mechanical systems, electrical systems, and processes and given guidance on how to decrease water usage, improve e-waste management, and make other improvements to sustainability practices.
Data center manager Rebecca Beard and Bill Thomson, vice president of marketing and product management, spoke to InformationWeek about their experience with DEEP data center certification. DC BLOX runs data centers in Atlanta, Birmingham, Huntsville, Chattanooga, and Greenville, and is rapidly expanding to other locations. The company has emphasized sustainable practices in developing its new centers.
What led your organization to seek DEEP certification?
Bill Thomson: I first became aware of the DEEP program when I was asked by Liz Cruz [director of data center programs at Informa Tech] to participate in some industry feedback. We knew that there was a high level of attention being paid to sustainability of data centers. We are a relatively new operator. We knew we had to have some engagement and involvement.