One search in Google accounts for 7 grams of CO2, 2 searches is the equivalent of boiling a kettle of water. The accurateness of this claim can be discussed. But if you have ever set foot in a computing data center it is clear that data centers consume a lot of electricity to power the servers and cool the building. As a result data centers have a serious CO2 emission footprint. And the relative high growth of data centers compared to other industries validates a closer look.
As a McKinsey study pointed out:
Already, the world’s 44 million servers consume 0.5 percent of all electricity, with data center emissions now approaching those of countries such as Argentina or the Netherlands. In the United States alone, growth in electricity used by data centers between now and 2010 will be the equivalent of ten new power plants. Without efforts to curb demand, current projections show worldwide carbon emissions from data centers will quadruple by 2020.
And in a graphic some other disturbing facts:
Some of the steps that are taken to mitigate the growth in electricity consumption:
- Consolidating data centers and servers. Virtualization is now becoming ubiquitous even for the most demanding applications. Virtualization is driving down the current inefficient use of servers.
- New facilities that take advantage of new technologies like natural cooling and power supplies that produce fewer.
- Raised awareness among regulators to hold organisations accountable for electricity consumptions and emissions operating data centers.
- A global industry consortium called The Green Grid dedicated to developing and promoting energy efficiency for data centers and information service delivery.
- A McKinsey study on Data Center Efficiency.
- A more elaborate Accenture report on Datacenter Energy Usage.
- The green grid website has metrics on calculating the efficiency of a data center
- Green Data Center Blog
Disclaimer: 23 google searches were executed in creating this article.