The carbon footprint of the IT-sector: How long before awakening?

Feb 05, 2019

In an article in Nature, published on September 12, 2018 it is stated that data centers are rapidly becoming major energy consumers worldwide. Yet, very few companies screen the carbon footprint of their IT. They should.


"Already, data centres use an estimated 200 terawatt hours (TWh) each year. That is more than the national energy consumption of some countries, including Iran, but half of the electricity used for transport worldwide, and just 1% of global electricity demand (see ‘Energy scale’). Data centres contribute around 0.3% to overall carbon emissions, whereas the information and communications technology (ICT) ecosystem as a whole — under a sweeping definition that encompasses personal digital devices, mobile-phone networks and televisions — accounts for more than 2% of global emissions. That puts ICT’s carbon footprint on a par with the aviation industry’s emissions from fuel. "

Apart from the energy consumption from bitcoin, an immense problem in itself, the data center industry has major concerns to address. Older data centers, often small units containing a few servers, are hard to optimise - and that is where most servers are located today. Moving a company's servers to a hyperscale facility can lead to major drops in energy consumption, hyperscale data centers being designed for three to four times the energy efficiency of an ordinary data center.

Are you interested in understanding how data centers can work with reducing their carbon footprint and energy consumption? We have identified six measures that can be undertaken. Download our e-guide on sustainability for data centers:

Download our e-guide: Could your data center operations be greener?