When George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer in the UK, announced last year that data centre operators would be exempt from blanket carbon taxes, it demonstrated the importance of data centres as a core of the UK economy, powering the service sector in a similar way that manufacturing and other industries have traditionally powered economic growth. And just as manufacturers were allowed to negotiate a climate change agreement (CCA) with the government, it made sense that energy intensive users from the tech sector could utilise a similar approach to align industry activities with the government's objectives.
In July of this year, the Chancellor’s promise became law. Following a three-month registration process that ended in October, Digital Realty has been granted an exemption from the Climate Change Levy (CCL) and Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC). In exchange for this exemption, Digital Realty has committed to significant energy efficiency improvements.
Reducing Digital Realty's carbon footprint is an important part of our focus on sustainability. Customers are increasingly interested in finding ways to reduce energy use and minimise carbon footprint of their data centres. Committing to make our data centres more energy efficient reflects our commitment to reducing environmental impacts whilst also providing value to clients through lower operating costs.
Our Crawley site is a leading example of how energy efficiency gains can be achieved. Cooling the facility with systems that harness indirect outside air, rather than relying on traditional refrigeration units, improves data centre efficiency. Other measures such as upgrading sensors, control systems, fans, motors and pumps also yields significant energy savings.
The climate change agreement for data centres has presented an opportunity for Digital Realty to redouble its efforts to improve the efficiency of our data centre portfolio by 20 per cent to reduce PUE by 15 per cent by 2020. This is good for the environment, our clients, and our business.
Blog post by Bernard Geoghegan, Managing Director, EMEA and Asia Pacific