With the massive innovations brought by the “Cloud” and the “Internet of Things”, the world is becoming ever more connected. The increased internet usage requires tremendous amounts of data to be stored, and we are already witnessing mushrooming growth in data centres over the past decade. At present, the amount of energy consumed by the world’s data centres amounts to 3% of global electricity supply and accounts for about 2% of total greenhouse gas emissions. That gives it the same carbon footprint as the airline industry.
Rising energy costs have incentivised the data centre industry to look at the major causes of their energy consumption and possible ways to improve the situation. One of the main reasons why data centres consume so much energy is largely a result of users requesting more processing power and companies at risk of losing business if they fail to meet consumer demand. As a result, most data centres operate at full capacity 24/7 and install additional backup generators in order to safeguard against power failures. Another reason for inefficiency comes from bad practice and failure to adopt the latest energy-efficient technologies.
The growing appetite of data centres for a share of the world’s electricity is forecasted to treble in the next decade. Increasing the use of renewable energy in electricity supply is necessary but not sufficient in curbing carbon emissions. Moreover, even if the industry were able to shift to 100% renewable electricity, the volume of energy demanded would put intolerable pressure on the world’s power systems.
To address the challenges associated with the growing demand for energy from the world’s internet data centres, the Copenhagen Centre on Energy Efficiency has recorded a webinar together with experts from Alibaba, Hauwei and Danfoss. The webinar puts data centres under the microscope and explores the opportunities and successful models for improving data centre performance through energy efficiency design and technologies.