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Can a data centre achieve Net Zero?

By OnSite Energy Projects

Achieving net zero is a challenge for any business but data centres are amongst the most power hungry users. Globally data centres consume >3% of total power generation (that’s 140% of the entire UK power generation). So can data centres ever attain net zero?

Some data centres simply buy “green tariffs” which in my view is a cheat, and it won’t be acceptable in the long run.  It also misses the real opportunity of embracing the move towards net zero, which is  to reduce operating costs and be green at local level. Achieving net zero lies in a combination of energy efficiency and local zero carbon generation.

Data centres are often measured by their PUE (Power Usage Effectiveness) which is Total Facility Power consumption divided by IT Equipment Power.  Typically PUE is in the range 1.5-2.0  depending on location.  The traditional approach in building a data centre is to size the power supply and cooling to the maximum compute capacity, with redundancy.  In practice this means a lot of equipment on standby or in reserve just in case.

We typically see several energy savings options in data centres.  For instance, alternative cooling technologies can be used which save significant energy (up to 90% of cooling load), and are also cheaper than traditional cooling and more scalable to deploy as IT power grows.  Resulting PUE can fall below 1.1.

Reducing consumption also narrows the gap that zero carbon onsite generation then needs to address.  The main factors in specifying generation solutions are usually available space on site, scale of generation needed and access to nearby low carbon or renewable generation.

The benefits such an approach brings are (1) cheaper operating costs;  (2) reduced CO2 emissions; (3) long-term cheaper power than grid, and (4) enhanced resilience. These are all key factors in attracting and retaining tenants.   Adoption of the alternative cooling technologies can even enable more dense rack compute power, so enabling more use of space, higher rents and higher occupancy.

The technology may not be there today to go fully net zero, but I am convinced its coming.  Adopting a strategy towards net zero will be vital for attracting and retaining customers.

Onsite Energy Projects enables the achievement of net zero via our innovative data-led approach and zero capex solution. For more details please contact us at info@on-site.energy or on 0161 444 9989.


RENEWABLE HEAT ENERGY: Incentive Scheme Set to End

By Onsite Energy

If you use hot or warm water (or cooling) within your operations, and are interested in reducing your carbon footprint or in using renewable energy, you need to have until 31 March 2021 to benefit from the Government’s Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) subsidies.

This subsidy provides a “per kWh” financial contribution for installed qualifying technologies, which helps to reduce the payback time.  The subsidy is paid for 20 years and increases annually in line with the Consumer Prices Index (CPI). The technologies that can qualify include solar thermal,  heat pumps (ground, air and water source), biomass boilers, deep geothermal and biogas combustion.

We can offer a CAPEX-FREE SOLAR THERMAL, using a leading British solar thermal technology, for less than the cost per kWh you are paying presently for gas or electricity.  The heat supplied is metered and installation is simple.   An installation of 150 kW (which is around 450m2) would produce around 190-200,000 kWh of heat annually in UK – at 45oC-60oC – the equivalent of over 100,000 showers.

This is ideal for swimming pools, hotels, sport facilities, healthcare facilities and companies with a year round demand for hot water (for instance food manufacturing)

We can also help specify and install qualifying heat pumps.

If you would like to know more, pls email us at info@on-site.energy or call on 0161 444 9989.

Onsite Energy Projects provides energy savings and energy generation solutions to energy intensive businesses, without capex if required.