“Greener” Data Centers in an Increasingly Digital and Data-Driven World

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1Q 2022 | IN-6387


Growth and Environmental Impact of Data Centers


Lockdowns, travel restrictions, and the shift towards working from home are among the significant changes that arose due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite countries beginning to lighten restrictions and open their borders, the changes in culture and habits continue to remain. The rapid digitization of companies and growing work-from-home flexibility led to shifts in data consumption patterns, driving growth in data centers and data center services. The world’s largest data center operators, led by Amazon, Google, Facebook, and Microsoft, spent US$37 billion in the third quarter of 2020 on data centers. The byproduct of this rapid growth, however, is the significant increase of energy consumption and resulting CO2 emissions. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), data centers consume approximately 200 terawatt-hours (TWh) of electricity, or nearly 1% of global electricity demand, contributing to 0.3% of all global CO2 emissions. To make things worse, one estimate sees data center energy consumption reaching 8% of global electricity usage by 2030 as digi…

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