‘As data centre demand soars, so must the sustainability credentials of the sector’

That’s what Marc Garner, Vice President ITD UK&I at Schneider Electric, told future Net Zero Editor Jonny Bairstow when they spoke about the environmental impacts associated with rapid data centre growth

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As we accelerate towards an increasingly digital world and data centre demand soars, so must the sustainability credentials of the sector.

That’s what Marc Garner, Vice President ITD UK&I at Schneider Electric, told future Net Zero Editor Jonny Bairstow when they spoke about the environmental impacts associated with rapid data centre growth and how this will need to be mitigated as part of the journey to net zero.

The term ‘data centre’ can encompass a range of things, but it is typically used to refer to a physical building or location that houses computer servers -this equipment is generally used to remotely store, process or distribute large amounts of information, in the form of digital data.

Mark highlighted that data centre capacity is going to significantly increase as the world becomes increasingly digital, emphasising that the COVID-19 pandemic has meant more people than ever before are now working online.

Frankfurt, London, Amsterdam, Paris are currently where most of Europe’s data centres are located – in 2021, there will be around 400MW of new data centre capacity built across these areas.

With that growth, new, cleaner technologies will need to be adopted to limit the amount of emissions generated.

Marc said: “The digital fabric of our lives now is just growing and growing, the buildings are becoming more intelligent, more reliant on data – it’s not just how we use the technology. Everything that’s happened in the last 12 months means that data centres have become a pivotal part of our lives.

“By 2025, IT will consume around 8.5% of global electricity usage, which is up by around 3.5% from where we were in 2018.

“The need for data centres is going to grow and with that, the need to be more efficient in terms of the operation and in how that data centre works grows with it.”