Handling our gear's heat has always been an issue for installations large and small. ICT equipment typical took 1x-2x again more energy to remove its heat as it took to power it in the first place (PUE of 2.0+), driving both energy costs and carbon footprints. Early efforts focused on the two obvious tactics: make both the ICT gear and the air conditioning more efficient. We now see these augmented by innovative new approaches to the problem, ranging from seawater cooling to variable-speed fan retrofits.
Liquid cooling was once a staple of large-scale computing, but has largely been replaced by air cooling. We identified several efforts to bring liquid cooling to the server world in our first version of this post in 2012 and have seen continuous progress since. Here is the latest news.
Updates from Europe. Click on "Europe" tag above for all news about the region. Click here for regional Green ICT updates from around the globe.
A benefit of speaking at a conference, as I did last month as a GSICT keynoter, is learning from the other speakers. One presentation made me aware of Green ICT work underway through the Digital Agenda for Europe.
Task 4, last updated in April 2015 is described as a "50 partner cluster" spanning "6 FP7 Projects from the Call on Data Centres Sustainability: DC4Cities, RenewIT, Dolfin, GENiC, GEYSER & GreenDataNet, aiming to increase renewable energies use, heat reuse and the utilization of Smart Grids; 2 projects from a previous FP7 Call : All4Green, CoolEmAll; one H2020 project on public procurement of sustainable data centres (EURECA)."
Location is becoming increasingly important to the sustainability of ICT facilities. We've been tracking facilities in North American and Europe which try to leverage geographic features for greener operations. Our latest examples in the North America section of this post show how under-utilzed grid power is also making some locations attractive.
Green-certified computer displays are now too numerous to present in table format. Here is how to find the most sustainable displays, including projectors, listed by two certification services.
The EPEAT Gold database includes 389 models for the US. This represents a drop of ~30% over a year ago. The biggest drops came from Toshiba (-47%) and Samsung (-76%), the companies that offer the most models a year ago. Toshiba is still a model count leader, along with HP and Apple. The latter two companies increased their models counts in the past year.
ICT facilities are becoming increasingly innovative in reusing their waste heat, a trend we first identified in 2009. This has been strongest in Europe, where many municipalities have district heating infrastructures into which facilities can transfer excess heat. Our latest example, from Switzerland, is just this sort of arrangement.
A 2010 version of this post was titled "No One Can Agree on Typical PUE". I wrote, "As more data centers measure their PUE, managers ask what is typical? The industry does not seem to agree, so a wide range of numbers is out there." I updated the post in 2012 with the latest data, concluding that most data centers still appear to be operating above a PUE of 2.0."
I put the question to Vertatique's global Green ICT community in August 2013 via a tweet: "After years of #GreenICT, is there evidence that most #datacenters now operate below PUE 2.0?". This was one of our most-retweeted, but no one came forward with new evidence. Some replied in the emphatic negative.
Three years of very enlightening survey results from Digital Realty, including the 2014 data, confirm that the 2012 analysis. The only lower (better) average PUE came from Microsoft.
We are a USA-based initiative, so we publish in English. There is a growing wealth of Green ICT material in other languages. This is a directory of the references on Vertatique to non-english resources.
There is a rich global mix of advanced concepts and technologies emerging from research labs that may improve the future sustainability of ICT equipment and infrastructures. We regularly update this post with technologies of interest. (You can see all the technologies which hold the promise of greener ICT in the future by clicking the 'FutureTech' tag, above.) Our latest posts span research into biological agents that can recover gold from e-waste to multiferroic materials to reduce device waste heat.