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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.
A recent study published in Environmental Research Letters indicates that in addition to the electricity consumed directly by data centers, electricity is used to supply treated water to data centers and treat the wastewater discharged by data centers. The electricity required in the provisioning and treatment of water and the treatment of discharged wastewater also emits GHGs attributed to data centers. According to the report, water used to generate the electricity used by water and wastewater utilities in their data centers’ service contributes to these data centers’ water footprint. Water is also used directly within a data center to dissipate the immense heat produced during its operation.
So, selecting the right partner that focuses on sustainability means taking a closer look at water conservation.
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 generates 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.
As a client of a green data center like Switch that utilizes 100% recycled water, you share in the associated benefits to your environmental responsibility by:
- 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.