O2 rolls out smart cooling technology at data centres to save energy

The project is estimated to deliver energy savings equivalent to one million kilograms of CO2 year on year

Net Hero Podcast

O2 is rolling out smart and energy efficient cooling technology to better control the temperature at its data centres to boost the efficiency of its network and save energy.

It is upgrading its data centre kit with new smart sensors and software and swapping energy intensive air conditioning for fresh air cooling, with the project estimated to deliver energy savings equivalent to one million kilograms of CO2 year on year.

The new equipment uses the natural cold air outside to help cool data equipment when it needs it, rather than relying solely on traditional electric-powered air conditioning.

The software from EkkoSense uses smart sensors fitted to data centre equipment to monitor exactly how much cooling each site needs at any one time and report back on how to optimise cooling as demand changes.

This helps ensure each site operates “as efficiently as possible” and identify any issues and prevent overcooling or overheating.

O2 has already upgraded around 70% of its core network sites with the new equipment and software, delivering energy savings of between 15% and 20% per site – equivalent to 678,000 kilograms of CO2 in its first pro-rata year of use.

Last year, the mobile network operator committed to net zero emissions by 2025, whilst working with supply chain partners to reduce emissions by 30% over the next five years.

It has reduced carbon emissions in its operations by 29% since 2015 and has achieved a 35% reduction in supply chain emissions since 2016.

Tracey Herald, Head of Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability at O2 said: “Our number one priority is keeping customers connected but that cannot be at the expense of the environment. Data centre cooling is a great example: the more data we use, the hotter the centres can become. Historically networks have relied on air con but the UK has plenty of fresh, cold air that does the same job – so we’re getting rid of old kit and using energy in a smarter way.

“Investing in upgrading our network will help us hit our efficiency targets as we head towards net zero by 2025 – without compromising on the service we provide.”