Sustainability is set to become one of the top three considerations in the purchasing decisions of large UK companies over the next 18 months as the pressure of environmental regulation makes them demand commitment to good environmental practice throughout their supply chain.
In London, the Lord Mayor‘s office has launched the Green Procurement Code to offer organisations assistance with ‘greening’ their supply chain and earlier this month BT revealed a new procurement policy that calls for its 6,000 contracted suppliers to measure, report and reduce their carbon footprints.
“The message is clear,” said Alex Rabbetts, Managing Director of data centre specialists Migration Solutions, “sustainability is not just for big companies – it now going to be important to anyone who wants to sell to them as well.”
The ‘greening’ of the supply chain will mean that companies will need to understand and be accountable for the environmental performance of every aspect of their business and their own suppliers, and this includes how their computer services are hosted.
“For many ‘online intensive’ businesses how and where they procure their hosting will have the biggest impact on their carbon footprint,” said Rabbetts. “The data centre that hosts them will be energy-intensive and companies need to ensure their hosting partners are taking the right steps to minimise their environmental impact - otherwise their carbon footprint will become yours!”
Ask the company that hosts your computers services these five simple questions and see if they will help or hinder your sustainability credentials?
1. What does the data centre do with the heat that its IT equipment generates?
Forward thinking data centres will have heat-recovery plants which re-use heat generated in the technical room to supply hot water and radiators in the communal areas of the data centre, reusing valuable energy that less advanced data centres waste.
2. Does the data centre use the free cooling provided by the UK’s climate?
With a good UK location and state-of-the-art chillers, a data centre can benefit from over 8,000 hours of free cooling every year. The latest technology intelligently monitors the ambient temperature outside and uses it to cool the equipment wherever possible – the chilling equipment only starts running when the ambient outside temperature rises above a pre-set level.
3. Is the air-conditioning system up to the latest environmental specification?
Make sure your host’s Computer Room Air Conditioning (CRAC) units are non-ozone-depleting.
4. Check the data centre’s lighting – does it have motion activated LED lights in all areas?
Unlike conventional light sources, LEDs in many applications will last for more than 10 years of operation. Importantly LEDs do not generate heat like conventional lighting and use only one tenth of the power to produce the same light. Motion activated lighting makes good environmental sense as data centres are managed remotely most of the time.
5. Does the data centre have the right credentials?
The EU Code of Conduct for Data Centres and The Green Grid are the key organisations – is your computer services host a member of either?
“Whilst data centres and computer rooms are huge users of power, much can be done to reduce and minimise their impact on the environment,” says Rabbetts. “Our new Norwich colocation data centre, Sentry42, uses the most environmental heating and cooling systems possible and I expect it to be an important link in many companies sustainable supply chains when it opens in May.”
For further information on Migration Solutions and Sentry42 visit sentry42.com - T: 08451 424242 / E: info[.]sentry42.com.