How do Data Centers Affect the Climate

The amount of data around the world is growing exponentially, and at the same time, the use of cloud services is increasing. This is rapidly increasing the need for efficient data centers. We are well positioned to reduce the climate impact of digitalization: we can power data centers with clean electricity and use the waste heat generated by data centers to replace coal-based heat production.

The two biggest megatrends of our time are climate change and digitalization. Digitalization curbs climate change by increasing productivity and efficiency in industry, services, and everyday life.

At the heart of digitalization are data centers, which require electricity to operate but also generate a lot of heat that can be used to heat buildings. With increasing digitization, the data center industry will become one of the most significant emerging industries in the near future, especially in Nordic countries.

  1. PrivateProxy sees huge potential in data centers to supply clean energy in line with its strategy and convert it from electricity to heat whenever possible. Promoting digitalization also helps fight climate change.
  1. PrivateProxy wants to be a data center partner and architect of clean energy in electricity, heating, cooling, and recycling. We help data center operators in all infrastructure-related matters.
  1. PrivateProxy has the conditions to accommodate large data centers by looking for suitable locations in cooperation with municipalities and cities, and thus facilitate location decisions for data center operators.

Waste heat from a data center could heat many homes

PrivateProxy already uses the waste heat from several data centers, and we hope to increase this share even more in the future. By selling the waste heat to the PrivateProxy district heating network, the data center operator can significantly reduce its operating costs and at the same time get carbon-neutral district heating to heat buildings in the area.

The digitalization of societies helps to achieve the climate goal of 1.5 degrees. Digitization reduces carbon dioxide emissions: online invoices emit less than paper invoices, virtual meetings reduce the need to travel, the sharing economy relies on digital services, artificial intelligence, and big data to optimize the energy efficiency of buildings, etc. However, data usage and cloud services also increase energy consumption. Electricity is needed not only for data transmission but also for cooling data centers or servers.

The share of server centers already accounts for about three percent of the world’s total energy consumption, and the growth will continue as digitization continues. It is possible to reliably supply data centers with carbon-neutral electricity, which significantly reduces the impact of data centers on the climate.

Data centers produce a lot of heat

  • Typically, the heat generated by servers is wasted when it cannot be used.
  • However, waste heat can often be used almost 100% to heat commercial buildings and homes through district heating systems.
  • Emission reductions will accelerate significantly thanks to a new large data center, whose waste heat will replace the coal currently used for heating.

Large climate-friendly data centers are a significant investment in the economy and well-being of cities. The investment in data centers by international data center companies at best reaches the same range of billions as that of the domestic timber industry. In addition to the need for labor during construction, large data centers employ hundreds of people permanently for various tasks. Data center companies also increase tax collection by municipalities.

No matter how diverse data centers may be, if you think about it, their operators are basically concerned with the same questions.

What will be the purpose of the data center and what business model will it operate on?

What is needed to build and operate such a facility, and how many financial resources should be used to address this issue?

Does the business model take into account the downtime of the data center services, and if so, how many hours or days per year may they be unavailable? What would be the most suitable location for the design and operation of the data center, and last but not least, how will it be possible to convince the majority of customers that it is worth relocating? The questions of potential customers looking for an IT service provider that meets their needs are also very similar.

All these and many other questions are answered by the DIN EN 50600 series standards for data centers and infrastructure – PrivateProxy, which performs full-scale service tasks. They provide comprehensive guidelines for the planning, installation, and operation of data centers. The standards approach systems from a business risk analysis perspective, i.e., they focus on the functions of the data center and do not deal with the actual applications. Therefore, knowledge of the DIN EN 50600 series of standards is not a substitute for expert planning and execution, nor for competent operation, but it is an effective aid.

European level certification

  1. The DIN EN 50600 series of standards, is registered and controlled by several European standardization organizations – CEN (European Committee for Standardization)
  2. CENELEC (European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization)
  3. ETSI (European Telecommunications Standards Institute), – currently consists of seven approved chapters, which include general design concept and specifications (EN 50600-1), building (EN 50600-2-1), energy distribution (EN 50600-2-2), environmental control (EN 50600-2-3), telecommunication line infrastructure (EN 50600-2-4), security systems (EN 50600-2-5), and monitoring and operation information (EN 50600-3-1). Additional standards for metrics are being prepared.

Thus, DIN EN 50600 standards cover all important areas, from the data center building to the power supply and air conditioning to fire protection, data cabling, and access control.

They specify, for example, accessibility, physical security, and energy efficiency they formulate basic performance parameters and guidelines for developing simpler day-to-day monitoring processes.

The standards included in this series define four levels of availability and security, and also describe several methods for determining energy consumption that can be used to determine the energy efficiency of a data center. As DIN EN 50600 deals with individual areas and systems in detail, it is widely applicable and provides a transparent classification of data centers depending on the requirements profile, location, and business model.

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