Big names in the IT industry are setting benchmarks and creating high standards when it comes to establishing a sustainable value chain for their sustainable business operations. Microsoft, Google, Salesforce, and Oracle, to name a few, have all incorporated the need for data transparency as well as promoting renewable energy adoption from their suppliers and providers and made it a part of their procurement processes.
Digitalization requires ever-increasing IT infrastructure to support every aspect of our global economy. Data centers are essential to every aspect of the energy transition. The energy transition is the digital transformation. At Schneider Electric, our data shows us that 83% of data center operators say they use sustainability to attract new business. And 75% of them have lost business due to not having the right sustainability programs and practices in place. However, 72% are just at the beginning of their sustainability journey and 70% lack the required budget for sustainability initiatives.
The demand for data centers in the UAE and the Middle East region has been steadily increasing in recent years, driven by several factors such as the growth of cloud computing, the rise of e-commerce, and the increasing use of digital technologies in various industries.
According to a report by MarketsandMarkets, the Middle East and Africa data center market is projected to grow from USD 3.7 billion in 2020 to USD 7.5 billion by 2025, at a CAGR of 15.7% during the forecast period. The report also notes that the UAE is one of the largest markets in the region, with a significant presence of data center providers and cloud service providers.
Several factors contribute to the growing demand for data centers in the UAE and the Middle East, including the increasing adoption of cloud-based services by businesses, the growing number of connected devices, the need for efficient data storage and management, and the increasing demand for high-speed data transfer and processing capabilities.
Furthermore, the UAE government has been investing heavily in digital transformation initiatives, such as smart city projects and e-government services, which are driving the demand for data centers and related services. Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic has further accelerated the demand for digital services, leading to increased demand for data centers in the region.
Apart from the UAE, Saudi Arabia’s data center market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 10.16% during 2022-2027. The kingdom’s National Renewable Energy Program (NREP) under Vision 2030 and the King Salman Renewable Energy Initiative have been initiated to maximize renewable energy. Saudi Arabia expects to generate over 50% of its renewable energy by 2030. This is per a report by ResearchAndMarkets.com.
The Saudi Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) launched an $18 billion plan to build a network of large-scale data centers across the Kingdom as per an Arab News report in January 2022.
Sustainability in data center design and management
Schneider Electric is a global leader in energy management and automation, and we are focused on promoting sustainable business operations in the establishment and operation of data centers. Our approach to promoting sustainability in data centers involves several key strategies.
By maximizing natural cooling and using energy-efficient equipment, Schneider Electric offers a range of energy management solutions, including building management systems, power monitoring systems, and energy procurement services. These solutions can help businesses reduce their energy consumption and costs, while also minimizing their environmental impact.
- Efficient cooling: One of the biggest energy consumers in data centers is the cooling system, which is necessary to keep the equipment from overheating. Schneider Electric promotes the use of efficient cooling systems that minimize energy consumption, such as free cooling, which uses ambient air to cool the equipment, rather than relying solely on mechanical cooling systems.
- Modular design: Modular design principles allow data centers to be built in smaller increments that can be added as needed. This approach minimizes waste and allows data centers to be built more efficiently, which can reduce energy consumption.
- Energy-efficient equipment: Servers and storage devices should be designed to consume less energy without sacrificing performance. This can help businesses reduce their energy consumption and costs, while also minimizing their environmental impact.
- Intelligent monitoring and control: Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure platform includes advanced monitoring and control capabilities that enable businesses to optimize their energy consumption and operational efficiency. The EcoStruxure platform includes a range of solutions, including IoT devices, analytics tools, and automation software, that can be customized to meet the unique needs of each business.
At Schneider Electric, we are leaders in the development and deployment of renewable energy solutions, including solar and wind power. By investing in renewable energy solutions, businesses can reduce their reliance on fossil fuels and contribute to a more sustainable future. Solar and wind power can be used to power data centers. Renewable energy is a key component of sustainable business operations. Here are some of the ways that Schneider Electric is promoting the use of renewable energy in businesses:
- Solar power: Schneider Electric offers a range of solar power solutions, including photovoltaic panels and inverters, that enable businesses to generate their own electricity from renewable sources. Solar power can be particularly effective for businesses that have large roof spaces or other areas that are suitable for solar panel installation.
- Wind power: Schneider Electric also offers wind power solutions, including wind turbines, that enable businesses to generate electricity from wind energy. Wind power can be particularly effective for businesses that are located in areas with high wind speeds.
- Energy storage: Schneider Electric offers a range of energy storage solutions, such as batteries and flywheels, that enable businesses to store excess renewable energy for later use. This can help businesses to balance their energy supply and demand and maximize the benefits of their renewable energy investments.
- Power purchase agreements (PPAs): Schneider Electric can help businesses to enter PPAs with renewable energy providers, which enable businesses to purchase renewable energy at a fixed price over a long-term contract. This can help businesses to reduce their carbon footprint and support the development of new renewable energy projects.
Efficient operation tools
Schneider Electric’s Efficient Operations tool is designed to help businesses optimize their energy consumption and operational efficiency. Here are some of the key features and benefits of this tool:
- Real-time monitoring: Efficient Operations enable businesses to monitor their energy consumption and operational performance in real time. This allows businesses to identify areas where energy consumption can be reduced, as well as opportunities to improve operational efficiency.
- Energy Analytics: Efficient Operations include advanced energy analytics capabilities that enable businesses to analyze their energy consumption patterns and identify opportunities for energy savings. This can include identifying energy waste or inefficiencies in specific systems or equipment.
- Predictive maintenance: Efficient Operations can help businesses to implement predictive maintenance strategies, which can help to prevent equipment failures and minimize downtime. By monitoring equipment performance and identifying potential issues before they occur, businesses can reduce maintenance costs and extend the lifespan of their equipment.
- Automation: Efficient Operations include automation capabilities that enable businesses to automate routine tasks and optimize their operational performance. This can include automating lighting, heating, and cooling systems, as well as optimizing energy consumption based on occupancy and usage patterns.
Schneider Electric recognizes that the circular economy is an integral part of a business’s move toward sustainable operations. Here are some of the ways that Schneider Electric is promoting the circular economy:
- Product design: Schneider Electric is committed to designing products that are durable, repairable, and recyclable. This includes designing products with modular components that can be easily replaced or upgraded, as well as using materials that can be easily recycled or repurposed.
- Product lifecycle management: Schneider Electric promotes the use of product lifecycle management tools that enable businesses to track the lifecycle of their products, from design and manufacturing to use and disposal. By optimizing product lifecycles, businesses can reduce waste and minimize their environmental impact.
- Recycling and repurposing: Schneider Electric encourages businesses to recycle and repurpose their products and materials whenever possible. This includes recycling electronic waste and using recycled materials in new products and packaging.
Sharing and collaboration: Schneider Electric promotes sharing and collaboration among businesses, which can help to optimize the use of resources, minimize waste, and promote sustainable business operations. This includes sharing equipment, facilities, and expertise, as well as collaborating on sustainability initiatives and projects.
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