Water as a Key Consideration for Sustainable Data Centers

Sustainable by Design®

For the longest time, data centers were measured with the PUE metric. This metric would indicate how well power was being utilized and the efficiency of the data center. Although this is still very important, those focusing on truly sustainable solutions are also looking at water as an indicator for selecting sustainable data center partners.

At the center of our connected world is your data center. Looking out less than a decade, we see that our digital world will experience massive growth over the coming years, with 29.3 billion devices expected online by 2030, up from 18.4 billion in 2018, according to a report from Nature. Today’s focus on the data center, efficiency and sustainability, has pushed infrastructure leaders to rethink their sustainability efforts. In the past, the efficiency of our digital infrastructure has been primarily measured with a straightforward metric: PUE. Simply, this was the effectiveness of your data center and how it powered the facility. Your goal? Get it as close to 1 as possible.

For those in the data center industry, you’re aware that the measure of sustainability in a data center ecosystem goes well beyond power. We’re looking at carbon footprints, Scope 1, 2 and 3 emission metrics, waste management and even supply chain sustainability. The other critical factor – Water. So, selecting the right partner that focuses on sustainability means taking a closer look at water conservation.

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    Water Conservation: Sustainability by Design

    In working with leading data center and colocation solutions, enterprise leaders must ask broader questions about their partners’ capabilities to be truly sustainable. Aside from energy consumption and renewable energy sources, it’s vital to ask your data center partner about their water consumption strategies. Technology leaders understand that water is a precious resource, and they also see that developing new solutions to conserve and reuse water is critical for the environment.

    For example, Switch employs net positive water impact strategies. Its proprietary water processing technology allows Switch to reuse its water, eliminate chemicals from its cooling systems and increase efficiency by 400%. This solution has generated savings of more than 155 million gallons of water in just the past three years. Beyond water conservation, data center providers must also be good stewards of the environment and good neighbors for surrounding communities. Switch is leading the development of a 4,000 acre-foot effluent water pipeline in Northern Nevada to support these efforts. The pipeline allows the company to run its multi-million square foot data center campus (The Citadel Campus) on 100% recycled, effluent water.

    Additionally, Switch has demonstrated a commitment to a net positive water strategy by initiating investments that will more than completely balance its water use footprint. Their goal is to protect the world’s most precious resources and to reduce the environmental impact in the communities where they do business. During the coming decade, Switch will replenish and restore up to two times more water than it uses operationally. By colocating with Switch, you could reduce your water footprint and contribute to water conservation efforts.

    As a client of a green data center like Switch that utilizes 100% recycled water and leads water improvement projects, you share in the associated benefits of environmental benefits such as:

    • Reducing water consumption through colocation in a green data center
    • Optimizing water usage effectiveness to cool your IT loads sustainably
    • Reducing nitrates to improve water quality for the greater community
    • Eliminating the potential rate increase for consumers by deferring water facility upgrades
    • Contributing to the protection of local wildlife and endangered aquatic species

    To learn more about how you can be a part of the sustainable data center movement and help with water conservation, be sure to reach out to Switch and see how you can get started with running your IT infrastructure in a green data center.