£250m/€300m in annual energy savings achievable for Europe’s data centre industry according to Colt
Colt, Europe’s leading information delivery platform, today announced a reduction in energy usage of 18% across its European data centre estate* as part of a continuous energy efficiency programme that commenced in 2010. Over a three year period, the programme achieved savings in annual electricity usage of 43 gigawatt hours (GWh)*, equivalent to a reduction in CO2 footprint of 15,000 tonnes1 and savings of €4m in power costs1 per annum.
With electricity consumption by Europe’s data centres2 projected to reach 104,000 GWh (104 TWh) by 2020, up from 60 TWh at present, there is a pressing demand within the industry for greater energy efficiencies to minimise both carbon footprint and energy consumption. Energy usage currently represents a substantial business expense across the industry, accounting for 30–50% of data centre operating costs.
Based on efficiencies achieved over the last three years, Colt believes that without significant capital investment, on a like-for-like basis, an initial reduction in annual energy usage of 5% (3 TWh) is a realistic minimum target for Europe’s data centre industry, taking into account the average age of data centres across Europe which is estimated to be in excess of nine years. An industry-wide reduction of this scale, would reduce the industry’s CO2 footprint3 by over 1.2 million tonnes and yield savings4 of almost £250m/€300m in operating costs per annum. This would provide an environmental impact equivalent to mitigating the total annual electricity consumption of approximately 740,000 households5 in the UK (3.5 times the number of households in the City of Manchester).
As an endorser of the EU Code of Conduct on Energy Efficiency in data centres, Colt’s ongoing energy efficiency programme spans 30,000m2 of data centre space across Europe, including three facilities in the UK. The programme initially focused on data halls, targeting projects that delivered large, upfront gains in energy efficiency over a relatively short period of time. These projects accounted for most of the 10% savings Colt achieved Europe-wide during the first twelve months of the programme.
During years two and three, a further reduction of over 8% was achieved, with significant contributions coming from infrastructural projects. These projects, which required greater investment, were selected on an individual business case basis – each providing a compelling environmental benefit and operational cost savings over the remaining life of the installed equipment. Infrastructural projects included upgrades for cooling units, chiller equipment and uninterrupted power supply (UPS) systems.
Ian Dixon, VP of Operations at Colt said: “From environmental and cost perspectives, Colt has demonstrated that substantial energy savings can be achieved by targeting efficiencies within individual data halls and across the entire data centre infrastructure, both inside and out. Our experience shows that many of these savings can readily be obtained through a series of simple steps that provide sizeable returns within a twelve to eighteen month timeframe. Given the age profile and makeup of Europe’s data centre estate, there is no reason why these reductions cannot be replicated across the industry as a whole.”
“In the current economic environment, businesses are looking to reduce costs and achieve greater efficiency. However, there is a belief among many participants in the data centre industry that energy efficiencies go hand-in-hand with heavy investment; that’s simply not the case. Most of the savings achieved by Colt since 2010 have resulted from initiatives within the data hall requiring minimal capital investment. These included initiatives for enhanced airflow management, more accurate measurement systems and tighter tolerance bands for cooling air temperature and humidity.”
Mr Dixon, notes that for businesses with older data centres, infrastructural investment can provide diminishing returns and the business case for moving to a new data centre becomes stronger, particularly where companies can time investments to align with IT infrastructure consolidation projects. Here the key factors to consider at the design stage are: efficiency of operations and flexibility in terms of power, cooling and space to ensure maximum efficiency throughout the data centre’s lifetime.
White Paper: The following ‘12 Simple Steps to Improve Power Usage Efficiency’ have been compiled by Colt based on insights gained throughout the energy efficiency programme, available here.
*Efficiency programme is ongoing and these savings relate to only a portion of Colt’s data centre portfolio
Colt is the information delivery platform, enabling its customers to deliver, share, process and store their vital business information. An established leader in delivering integrated computing and network services to major organisations, midsized businesses and wholesale customers, Colt operates a 22-country, 43,000km network that includes metropolitan area networks in 39 major European cities with direct fibre connections into 19,000 buildings and 20 carrier neutral Colt data centres.
In 2010, the Colt Data Centre Services business was launched to deliver innovative high quality data centre solutions at a Colt or customer site. Our Innovative data centres are rapid to deploy, flexible and highly efficient.
In addition to its direct sales capability, Colt has four indirect channels to market; Agent, Franchise, Distributor and Wholesale which includes Carriers, Service Providers, VARs and Voice Resellers.
Colt is listed on the London Stock Exchange (COLT).
- Based on Colt’s average carbon density (greenhouse gas emission factor) and energy costs
- EU Joint Research Centre statement, November 2012
- Based on industry average of 0.4 tonnes equivalent CO2 per MWh
- Based on average industry energy costs
- Eurostat data for UK households and electricity consumption, 2011
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