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Equinix pledges new commitment to reduce data centre power

Equinix is reducing its overall power use by increasing operating temperature ranges within its data centres to minimise the company’s carbon impact.

The commitment is the first of its kind for an operator of colocation data centres, and Equinix will begin to define a multi-year global roadmap for thermal operations within its data centres immediately.

The roadmap will aim to dramatically improve cooling and reduce carbon emissions while continuing to provide a premium operating service.

The initiative is expected to gradually allow thousands of Equinix customers to bring down the Scope 3 carbon emissions associated with their data centre operations as supply chain sustainability becomes an increasingly important component of organisations’ overall environmental initiatives.

Data centres must be fitted with robust cooling systems to remove the high heat levels generated by IT equipment such as routers, servers and storage arrays.

“Most data centres operate within restrictive temperature and humidity bands, resulting in environments that are unnecessarily cooler than required,” says Rob Brothers, Program Vice President, Data Centre Services, IDC.

“Equinix will work with enterprises to change the way we think about operating temperatures within data centre environments and how the industry can ensure optimal service levels for mission-critical digital infrastructure, while improving data centre efficiencies.

“With this initiative, Equinix will play a key role in driving change in the industry and help shape the overall sustainability story we all need to participate in.”

Equinix anticipates operating its facilities closer to 27°C (80°F), aligning the operating limits throughout its global data centre portfolio with the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE’s) A1A standards.

Equinix has other initiatives, including optimising the use of outside air temperatures to cool its data centres, and this new initiative will contribute to the overall sustainability of the company’s data centres through greater efficiency to Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE).

PUE represents the total amount of power being used by a data centre divided by the power used to run the IT equipment within the data centre, providing an industry standard for data centre energy efficiency.

“Our cooling systems account for approximately 25% of our total energy usage globally,” says Raouf Abdel, Global Operations Executive Vice President, Equinix.

“With this new initiative, we can intelligently adjust the thermostat in our data centres in the same way that consumers do in their homes. Once rolled out across our current global data centre footprint, we anticipate energy efficiency improvements of as much as 10% in various locations.”

This commitment extends the company’s sustainability focus, with Equinix previously being the first in the data centre industry to commit to becoming climate neutral, aligned to approved science-based targets, for emissions reduction across its global operations and supply chain by 2030.

Equinix also recently signed two new Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) in Finland to create new renewable energy generation, bringing its total renewable energy capacity under long-term contracts globally to approximately 300MW.

In addition, the company’s renewable energy coverage has been over 90% since 2018. In 2021, the company achieved 95% renewable energy coverage.

“Data centres are critical to our daily lives, housing the equipment and interconnecting the businesses that fuel our digital lives, from online shopping to sending emails to streaming movies and video calls,” says Jon Lin, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Data Centre Services, Equinix.

“As more than 10,000 businesses globally rely on Equinix’s digital infrastructure, it plays a critical role in their supply chains.

“This initiative, once deployed, has the potential to significantly benefit these businesses as they seek to reduce the Scope 3 carbon emissions in their supply chain to meet their overall climate targets.

“It marks an important step in our comprehensive sustainability program and our climate-neutral commitment.”

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