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Shares five-step plan to address data center sustainability

Data centers are the heart of our digital world. In recent years, there has been a spike in the number of data centers established across Asia, with the Philippines among the fastest-developing data center markets. While this is a big step towards a more secure and connected future, it also comes with a growing responsibility.

All data flows through data centers, and with the accelerated transition to a more automated and more digital world, it is crucial for data centers—both large and small—to support the increased demand efficiently and sustainably, while also delivering on resiliency. 

With this increased digital demand, the IT-sector energy consumption and projected energy consumption are highly debated topics given the climate crisis. According to a recent report released by Schneider Electric, the IT-sector electricity demand is expected to increase approximately 50% by 2030. 

“The mission towards achieving overall sustainability and more sustainable practices and policies has quickly gone from buzzword to reality for many businesses as we see more and more internet giants announcing aggressive pledges to achieve carbon neutral operations,” said Tony Kang, Business Vice President, Secure Power Division at Schneider Electric Philippines.

As more corporations continue to integrate environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) goals into their business plans, the leader in sustainable power solutions Schneider Electric shares a five-step plan that data center operators can refer to when addressing their sustainability goals.

First, set a bold actionable strategy. Data center operators must use a data-driven consultation approach to help create an actionable strategy and reach climate and sustainability ambitions. Operators need to ensure that data is fully leveraged and utilized for optimization, analytics, and reporting.

Second, implement efficient data center designs. It is important to utilize an architectural approach to create customized, efficient, repeatable, serviceable, vendor-agnostic data center designs, keeping in mind compliance, transparency, and higher environmental performance.

Third, drive efficiency in operations. Data centers should deploy software and digital services to enable remote monitoring capabilities to drive efficiency in day-to-day operations. Operators must also define a clear strategy for maintenance and modernization to optimize the lifespan and efficiency of systems. 

Fourth, buy renewable energy. Data centers must try to explore a custom renewable procurement strategy that includes: microgrids, purchase power agreements (PPA), virtual VPPAs, energy-as-a-service and EACs.

Lastly, decarbonize supply chains. It is crucial for data centers to evaluate the Scope 3 footprint, identify and execute strategies to meet decarbonization objectives, utilize digital performance tracking and reporting for a decarbonization program.

It is important that operators consider these steps, as the Philippine data center industry continues to grow and show its potential as the next big hotspot in Southeast Asia. In fact, support from both private and public sectors has increased exponentially over the past few years. The Philippine government recently announced its intent to develop the Philippines as the next strategic hyperscaler hub in Asia Pacific, as well as its commitment to support the country’s industries to move towards digital transformation. This means that these industries will be a major source of demand for the data center operators. Given an expected increase in demand, it is vital for data centers to prioritize efforts in pursuing more sustainable goals.

“Schneider Electric would like to help data center operators take their first steps in addressing their sustainability plans,” shared Kang. “We offer a wide range of smart solutions for every data center, big and small and everything in between, on the market. This includes our EcoStruxure system that is future-ready and adaptable, easily integrated into third-party systems, and delivers cloud-based management and analytics to avoid downtime and increase productivity in the facility. In addition, our smart UPS solutions help data centers by protecting equipment, preventing the loss of critical data from costly interruptions by supplying reliable, network-grade power reliably and efficiently.” 

There is much more to be done as data centers work towards a more secure and sustainable future, but with the technology available, the goals set, and efforts from multiple sectors, the Philippines—as a data center market and as a country—is moving in the right direction.

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