Data centres make big carbon footprint

10 Oct 2007

For those who think a paperless office is environmentally friendly, think again: the vast amount of data stored on computers worldwide is having a huge impact on the CO2 levels in our atmosphere.

According to recent findings by Gartner, the energy used to run data centre servers and keep them cool leads to 23pc of global ICT CO2 emissions.

ICT itself contributes a total of 2pc to overall CO2 emissions — the same damage as the aviation industry.

Gartner’s Data Centre Summit 2007, which will be held in London from 22 to 24 October, will be looking at data centre design and how to go about altering their design to make them more energy efficient and green.

Rakesh Kumar, research vice-president at Gartner pointed out that although data centres are contributing less CO2 emissions than PCs and monitors, which account for 40pc of CO2 emissions in the ICT industry, data centre emissions are more concentrated and levels are rising more rapidly.

“Not enough attention has been paid to reducing the data centre’s carbon emissions. Organisations should aim to keep their data centre CO2 emissions constant.

“This will help curb excessive data centre growth and act as a counterbalance to deploying energy-inefficient hardware,” said Kumar.

The report points out that while the infrastructure of most data centres have grown over the past three years and the volume growth is set to rise in the next five years, a lack of new centres being built will mean less floor space and a higher concentration of CO2 emissions.

Among the guidelines suggested by Kumar for power management were to evaluate future technologies and to establish a sustainable IT expert group.

By Marie Boran