Data centers, the facilities where companies’ computer systems and their data are stored, are major consumers of power. A large data center might use as much electricity as a small town. In recent years, there has been a push to make data centers more energy efficient and environmentally friendly. But just how green are so-called “green data centers”?
What makes a data center green?
The primary energy consumers at data centers include the electricity to power the equipment and the electricity used to cool the equipment (to prevent it from overheating). Thus, green data centers employ technologies to increase to reduce this electricity usage and increase power efficiency, among other measures. Green data centers often have the following attributes:
They cool their equipment using natural means
One example would be the data center at the Port of Strasbourg, which uses natural groundwater to cool its equipment.
They use renewable energy to power their facilities
The Verne Global data center in Iceland uses geothermal and hydroelectric power.
Green data centers might also do things such as …
- Recycle their equipment and waste.
- Use sustainable building and landscaping materials.
- Have green company policies, such as promoting employee use of public transportation.
- Use electric company vehicles.
Determining a data center’s greenness
Not all green data centers are created equal. While any data center might call itself green, there can be big differences from one “green” data center to the next.
The metric most commonly used to determine the greenness of a data center is its power usage effectiveness, or PUE. PUE is a simple ratio consisting of total facility power divided by total equipment power.
Average data centers have a PUE of 2.0, while state-of-the-art facilities have a PUE of 1.2. Governmental agencies use PUE to determine whether a data center will officially qualify as green; in the US, for example, data centers must be in the top quartile of energy efficiency of all reported facilities.
Our data centers
With our data centers are located in Canada, in the heart of Montréal, we have a clear and unquestionable advantage over our competitors in reducing our ecological impact.
At Astral Internet, our data centers take advantage of the cold Québec winter breeze to cool down our servers for the better half of the year. During the summer season, our servers are powered with a renewable energy source, hydroelectricity. Moreover, we recycle our equipment. By choosing a server with Astral Internet, you’ll greatly help reduce the amount of electronic components eventually ending up in landfills.
Learn more about our green Virtual Private Server.