Sustainability and climate actions top data center trends to watch in 2022

data center trends - cleanbuild

Sustainability and climate actions top data center trends to watch in 2022

With global news dominated by reports of what climate change is causing humanity and the planet earth, it is not surprising that sustainability and climate crisis have emerged as some of the key data center trends to watch next year.

In its newly published list of the key data center trends to watch in 2022, Vertiv, a global provider of critical digital infrastructure and continuity solutions, headlined a dramatic acceleration in actions to address sustainability and navigate the climate crisis.

Vertiv experts see long-held conversations around efficiency and utilization in the data center evolving to reflect a more comprehensive and aggressive focus on sustainability. This movement recognizes the urgency of the climate crisis, the relationship between resource availability and rising costs, and shifting political winds around the world.

As we move into 2022, data center operators and suppliers will actively pursue strategies that can make a real difference in addressing the climate crisis,” said Vertiv CEO Rob Johnson.

“For our part, we continue to focus on energy efficiency across our portfolio, as well as alternative and renewable energy technologies and zero-carbon energy sources, to prioritize water-free cooling technologies, and to partner with research leaders and our customers to focus on impactful sustainability efforts.”

The actions data center decision-makers take on these fronts will have a profound impact on the digital economy in 2022 and beyond. The urgency of these challenges is reflected in the 2022 trends identified by Vertiv’s experts.

Data centers tackle sustainability and the climate crisis

The data center industry has taken steps toward more climate-friendly practices in recent years, but operators will join the climate effort more purposefully in 2022.

On the operational front, Vertiv experts predict some organizations will embrace sustainable energy strategies that utilize a digital solution that matches energy use with 100% renewable energy and ultimately operates on 24/7 sustainable energy.

Such hybrid distributed energy systems can provide both AC and DC power, which adds options to improve efficiencies and eventually allows data centers to operate carbon-free.

According to the prediction, fuel cells, renewable assets, and long-duration energy storage systems, including battery energy storage systems (BESS) and lithium-ion batteries, all will play a vital role in providing sustainable, resilient, and reliable outcomes.

Thermal systems that use zero water are in demand, and we will see refrigerants with high global warming potential (GWP) phased down in favor of low-GWP refrigerants.

More immediately, extreme weather events related to climate change will influence decisions around where and how to build new data centers and telecommunications networks.

Other factors, including the reliability and affordability of the grid, regional temperatures, availability of water and renewable and locally generated sustainable energy, and regulations that ration utility power and limit the amount of power afforded to data centers, play a part in the decision-making as well.

These extreme weather events will drive more robust infrastructure systems across the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) space which will need to be carefully aligned with sustainability goals.

In 2022, data center and telecom operators will wrestle with these issues – and ever-present latency questions – and will drive a need for solutions that can address all of these challenges.

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