How Singapore’s efforts to decarbonize should be a blueprint for greater data center sustainability

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Singapore’s ambitious plan to transform itself into a greener jurisdiction represents an exciting opportunity for the city-state to lead the world in data center sustainability development. Though we comprise just 0.0005 percent of the world’s land area, according to government statistics, Singapore’s greenhouse gas emissions represent 0.11 percent of the world’s total. Reducing its climate-changing impacts is the aim the government’s bold Green Plan, a blueprint that lays out ambitious sustainability targets that must be achieved over the next decade. It’s a big challenge to transition away from burning fossil fuels to generate electricity, particularly when considering the city’s other objective to remain Southeast Asia’s digital information hub.

data center sustainability

Always a stable, business-friendly, and low-risk destination for new data centers, Singapore’s total electricity consumed by the data centers rose roughly 7 percent in 2014. That figure likely grew substantially as construction of new facilities surged through 2019. Now, a de facto moratorium on new approvals is in place as the government evaluates the best options for how the sector can operate competitively, sustainably, and profitably on the island.

Thankfully, key data center sustainability trends are moving in the right direction. Emerging renewable energy technologies are increasing the available mix of green power, rising compute capacity per kWh is lowering overall carbon footprints, and improved technologies to reduce natural resource and water consumption are all contributing to making digital infrastructure more sustainable than ever. Being the only system integrator in Singapore certified by Schneider Electric as a Master-level BMS EcoXpert and a solution provider to the data center market, Daikin is expertly positioned to help clients meet Green Plan requirements and other efficiency goals. With that in mind, let’s look at some of the measures new and existing data centers in Singapore (and beyond) can take to ensure their facilities operate with the lowest environmental footprint possible.

Improve data center operational efficiency

Slashing data center energy waste is easier than many people think. A variety of efficiency measures can be taken, either during the infrastructure upgrade cycle or as part of a special energy use optimization strategy, including:

  • HVAC – optimizing chiller and humidification systems with advanced solutions such as Daikin iPlant Manager can cut energy consumption by up to 40 percent.
  • Power distribution – using high-performance power distribution units and uninterruptible power supplies is a proven method to increase energy asset efficiency.
  • Airflow management – improving air-to-air heat exchange capabilities with solutions such as Uniflair Indirect Air Economizers maximizes cooling system efficiency.
  • Information technology – eliminating periods of low utilization, running servers closer to rated capacity, activating energy-saving server features, and implementing efficient data storage measures are among the easiest ways of lower data center energy usage.

Data centers embrace efficient, sustainable design principles

Data center designs have come a long way over the last decade, but the overall environmental footprint of a data center extends beyond just electricity and water use. More can be done to increase data center sustainability on many fronts. From choosing vendors whose offers embrace the circular economy to specifying equipment optimized for minimal resource use and recyclability, measures known to reduce the environmental impact of digital infrastructure include:

  • Optimized hardware – choosing infrastructure assets with lower carbon footprints, such as SF6-Free switchgear and liquid cooling cut atmospheric emissions and save energy.
  • Sustainable resource use – aligning data center design and operation with documented business needs limits the tendency for facilities to be overbuilt, translating into the consumption of fewer raw materials, reduced land use, and lower transportation emissions, to name just a few.
  • Reducing toxic pollutants – from the materials used in uninterruptible power supply batteries through diesel generator exhausts, plus coolant in chillers/air conditioners, innovative new technologies, including DeCaIon™, a chemical-free water treatment solution are available to help data centers reduce the introduction of hazardous substances into the natural environment.

Data centers assess renewable and low-carbon energy options

To run a more sustainable data center, consider renewable energy options such as:

  • Connecting to greener utility power – the Singapore government’s Energy Reset initiative aims to increase solar generation, energy storage deployments, and clean electricity imports to lower the carbon footprint of all the city’s utility generation sources.
  • Implementing a renewable energy strategy – whether it’s through renewable energy credits, a green energy purchase agreement, or an onsite build that features renewable sources like solar panels, developing a roadmap for the future is as simple as connecting with the right partner.

As the government continues to evaluate the way forward for new data center development in Singapore, Daikin and Schneider Electric can provide a range of solutions that can make existing digital infrastructure more efficient and sustainable. The time to engage with a trusted, experienced partner and start planning is now.

To learn more about data center sustainability

Daikin – including our subsidiary BMS Engineering – is a total building lifecycle solution provider and leading system integrator for BMS, facilities management, energy efficiency, and IAQ solutions in the Singapore region. To learn more, visit the Daikin Singapore website.

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