While Earth Day has gone digital this year, ServerFarm, a leader in digital transformation with data centers across the globe, is honoring the historic movement to tackle climate crisis with findings from an environmental study performed at its Chicago data center. With current global circumstances pointing to the ever-growing demand for capacity, the data center industry must use every means possible to reduce its carbon emissions.
The recent discoveries from the ServerFarm study conducted by HKS, an international design firm, examined the operations of its refitted Chicago data center, a 134,000 SF, six-story building. This data center was efficiently redesigned, can house 4,000 server cabinets and consumes 25 MW of power annually. Using a Whole Building Life-Cycle Analysis, the report proved that modernizing an existing data center eliminates the carbon emissions for a standard new construction building, resulting in a modeled 88% embodied carbon emission reduction. (Embodied carbon is the CO2 emission associated with the manufacture, transport, construction, maintenance and end of life/disposal of a product or service.) Also, it found that modernizing an existing structure using epoxy coverings, gypsum boards and studs drop the embodied carbon costs. The elimination of the embodied carbon associated with building reuse is equivalent to the operational carbon of 200 server cabinets operating in a year.
The HKS study goes on to address that annually, the embodied carbon of building structure, substructure, and enclosures are responsible for 11% of global GHG emissions and 28% of global building sector emissions. Eliminating these emissions is key to addressing climate change and meeting Paris Climate Agreement targets.
With the launch of 5G, a rise in IoT devices and more data being generated than ever before, data center operators are focused on how to be more sustainable. ServerFarm’s commitment to addressing embodied carbon is an essential component to mitigating the present climate crisis. Its model of modernizing facilities versus new data center construction means reduced greenhouse gas emissions now, which is our greatest urgency.
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