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Whitepaper: Toward a Framework For Data Center Sustainability

The time has come for the industry to up its game and create a system that enables greater visibility and accountability in fighting climate change.

Sustainability and carbon footprint reduction are more important than ever in the modern world. Many governments around the globe are working together to reduce emissions, decarbonize their economies, lower energy usage, and address climate change. Data centers have an important role to play in achieving these objectives.

According to the International Energy Agency, the number of Internet users worldwide has doubled since 2010 and global Internet traffic has expanded fifteenfold. Global Internet traffic surged by more than 40% in 2020 alone as a result of increased video streaming, videoconferencing, online gaming, and social networking with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

International Energy AgencyGlobal trends in Internet traffic

The good news is that energy efficiency programs have managed to contain energy demand growth from data centers, which have accounted for around 1% of global electricity use for the past decade — even though nearly all of the world’s IP traffic goes through data centers. But with global internet traffic expected to double again between 2020 and 2023, there is no room for complacency.

The time has come for the data center industry to up its game and create a system that enables greater visibility and accountability in fighting climate change. Strong efforts by government and industry are needed to curb energy demand and reduce emissions over the next decade. However, the industry lacks a way to measure sustainability performance. There are metrics that measure factors such as general energy efficiency, but don’t take into account key elements such as carbon footprint, renewable energy sourcing, recycling, water usage, and other areas that collectively encompass environmental responsibility.

It is this need that has driven the AFCOM community and DEEP team to create a framework to assess and certify data center sustainability. Download the full whitepaper to learn more about the framework, the industry collaboration that occurred, and tips for all data centers of all sizes to implement best practices in sustainability.


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