Lack of Industry Standards Slowing Green Datacenter Initiatives

Digital Realty Trust reported results from its study of green datacenter trends that shows significant changes since 2007. The findings are based on a web-based survey of senior decision makers at North American corporations with revenues of at least $1 billion and/or at least 5000 employees.Key findings are:• 51 percent of companies have a green datacenter strategy, a decline from 55 percent in 2007.• 82 percent say there is no clear industry standard. This figure is up from 75 percent in 2007.• 94 percent agreed that a standard should outline how to achieve efficient power usage.• 83 percent agreed that a standard should outline how to enhance the efficieny of HVAC systems.• In the absence of standards, companies cite LEED certification as the best alternative.• Of companies that do have green datacenter strategies, 82 percent are taking an approach that encompasses not only servers and other hardware, but also facility design and operations. This is nearly identical to the 2007 metric (81 percent).• 18 percent of companies are planning to include carbon credits in their green datacenter plans, down from a figure of 25 percent in 2007.Digital Realty Trust ran a concurrent study in Europe that shows that green datacenter initiatives currently have greater momentum in the U.K., Germany, France, the Netherlands and Ireland. As explained to CPN by Jim Smith, vice president of engineering for Digital Realty, “A typical company with a current PUE datacenter efficiency rating of 3.0 or higher should be able to achieve energy savings of 50 percent with some basic best practices, such as using a hot aisle/cold aisle configuration, setting a proper operating temperature, managing leaks in perforated tiles, etc. For companies that already have highly energy efficient datacenters, it is still possible to achieve significant energy savings, but it requires the use of more advanced steps such as air-side or water-side economization.” In a November CPN article, LEED’s industrial criteria received criticism at the National Association of Industrial & Office Properties conference, where leaders said, “certain standards just are not as effective for industrial buildings as for other property types.” Regional climate differences, industry specific use of resources, and secondary factors that may affect a company’s green footprint are not taken into account.