What the Climate Change Agreement means for colocation providers

Earlier last month, the Climate Change Agreement (CCA) for the UK data centre industry came into force. The CCA means that energy intensive sectors can claim discounts on carbon taxes in return for implementing energy efficiency measures, helping the UK meet carbon reduction targets. But what does it mean for colocation providers like us?The agreement should be welcomed with open arms. Not only will it help the data centre industry become more energy efficient and competitive, but it means that the wider data centre sector has now been recognised as an ‘industry’ by the UK government, and more importantly, a key contributor to economic growth. Some data centre operators might be sceptical about the changes in the energy scheme, and what it means for them and their customers. But in reality, it forces them to think about how they run their data centres, and how they could improve. It will, however, make a big difference to the decision-making process for customers when they choose a colocation provider.We’re expecting the CCA to have a positive impact on the mind-set of the industry by driving a shift in behaviour amongst market players, not just allowing a budgetary line item to be added to data centres across the country. Colocation providers aren’t going to make money from the scheme. But the money that is freed up from it can then be used to implement measures to reduce our carbon footprint and therefore the environmental impact we make. The CCA stipulates that operators will have to make a 30 per cent reduction in non-IT energy consumption between 2011 and 2020 via energy efficient measures. At Colt, our commitment to energy efficiency started long before the introduction of this CCA. From simple improvements of airflow management to major plant redeployment, we have focused on completing a number of changes to improve efficiency which now helps us to align ourselves with the CCA. For example, our previous chillers gave us little control in energy loads. However, we’ve replaced these with Turbomiser chillers, which has helped deliver lower PUE readings on existing sites showing figures as low as 1.4. As with any new legislation, there will always be some that are sceptical or wary of the benefits, but there’s no doubt that the CCA will have a positive impact on both data centre providers and the wider industry. The initiative will require initial investment, both in people and processes, so results are not guaranteed overnight. But by making simple changes to improve energy efficiency, data centre providers can expect to start seeing a positive return on this investment within one to three years. And for the industry, this shift in mind-set is invaluable.

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