Data center sustainability guidance keeps up with the times

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The guidance provided in Schneider Electric’s White Paper 67: A guide to environmental sustainability metrics for data centers roughly two years ago became a “go to” resource for many companies on their sustainability journeys. It was equally pertinent to companies that were just starting as well as many that were industry leaders and pioneers.

The paper was released at a time when confusion reigned amid an abundance of vague and complicated guidance. White Paper 67 cuts through the confusion by highlighting 23 metrics broken out into 5 categories. And it further personalized the experience by suggested metrics based on where the company was in its individual journey – beginning, advanced, and leading. It introduced the idea of ledger reporting, similar to financial reporting.

Focusing even more on the data center

We collaborated with companies on reporting for their data center operations over the last two years of applying these metrics through our Sustainability Business consultants and Strategic Account executives. While every engagement was different, we realized our framework should be less general and more data center focused. We also learned that some categories had too many overlapping metrics (GHG emissions – 9, for example) while some had too few, such as Land and Biodiversity (1).

We embarked on a collaborative process with internal and external stakeholders and revised the metrics as follows:

  • Added server utilization to the Energy category
  • Changed Biodiversity to become Ecosystem – added total land use and land use intensity and noise
  • Added battery recycling and e-waste to the Waste category
  • Added water replenishment metrics to the Water category
  • Eliminated some redundant GHG and water metrics
view up through trees from the forest floor representing environmental sustainability

Setting metrics targets

We also changed the tone of the paper to focus on improvements vs causes as the point of measuring and reporting is to target and improve.

Another area we added is Setting Metric Targets primarily based on upcoming regulations. We explained in detail about the organizations looking to regulate and advise on what the target goals are for PUE (power utilization effectiveness), CUE (carbon utilization effectiveness), WUE (carbon utilization effectiveness), and REF (renewable energy factor). We provided industry benchmarks to show what was possible and we revised our recommendations for the metrics based on beginning, advanced, and leading.

Experience all of the additions and updates

I encourage you to check out the new version of White Paper 67: A guide to environmental sustainability metrics for data centers to experience all of the additions and updates.

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