Green Data Center Rating System: Explained

Introduction

We live in a world where everyone is so engrossed in hoarding and building their own empire without giving much thought to the plight of the environment & future catastrophic conditions that might make living in an environment-friendly atmosphere look like a pipe dream.
In their pursuit of happiness, humans are ripping the planet apart leaving very little or in some cases no room for its replenishment. A study done on deforestation revealed that every hour in this world a forest or agriculturally cultivable land of the size of a football field is lost because of industrialisation and human encroachment.
It is high time that we infuse some sense into our ambitions otherwise we would loose the blanket of a supportive environment on this planet.

Who is taking the charge?

IGBC: Indian Green Building Council is an organisation that is a part of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) is working with a vision of the possibility of a sustainable built environment for everyone and facilitate India to be one of the global leaders in the sustainable built environment by 2025.
The IGBC is on its toes and offers a wide variety of services such as:
  • Developing new green building rating programmes.
  • Certification services and green building training programmes.
  • Another achievement of the council is Green Building Congress, an annual flagship event that it organizes on green buildings.

What is Green Data Center Rating System?

  • The IGBC has created the Green Data Center Rating System to achieve its goal of a having environment-friendly buildings. The Green Data centre rating system is a step taken to ensure the construction and operation of data centres that come with enhanced resource efficiency which leads to national benefits. In the last decade, Data Centers have garnered huge importance for themselves as India continues to become more and more digital and with the current push for a digital India by the Modi government, Data Centers will grow rapidly in the near future.
  • IGBC has set up the Green Data Center technical Committee to develop the rating programme. The committee comprised of key stakeholders, including Data Center owners, operators, technology suppliers, HVAC technology suppliers and Consultants. The committee, with a diverse background and knowledge, has enriched the rating system, both in its content and process.
Some of the unique aspects of the rating system are as follows:
  • Emphasis on data centre equipment, rather than the building elements.
  • Addressed both the IT areas and the non-technical spaces.
  • Higher emphasis on management information systems, energy management and monitoring.
  • Maintaining indoor air quality in IT spaces to achieve ISO standards, besides addressing air quality in non-technical spaces.
  • Proposed site visits before an award of the rating.
IGBC Green Data Center Rating System addresses green features under the following categories:
  • Site Selection & Planning
  • Energy Efficiency
  • Operation & Maintenance
  • Water Conservation
  • Building Material and Resources
  • Indoor Environmental Quality
  • Innovation

The guidelines detailed under each requirement & credit enables the design & operation of Data Center projects of all sizes and types. Different levels of Green Data Center certification are awarded based on the total credits earned. However, every Green Data Center should meet certain mandatory requirements, which are non-negotiable.
The various levels of rating awarded are as below:
Certification Level           Recognition
Certified⇒                           Good Practices
Silver ⇒                               Best Practices
Gold ⇒                                 National Excellence
Platinum ⇒                          Global Leadership

What National Benefits Will Be Contributed By Them?

The national benefits contributed by Data Centers will be:
  • Reduction in fossil fuel use by reducing travel for trade & domestic transactions.
  • Saving of time in day-to-day activities.
  • IT enabled services.
  • Speed of communications.
  • Employment generation.

The National Priorities That Are Addressed In The Rating System Are:

Energy Efficiency: 

Data Centers are highly energy intensive. The IGBC Green Data Center Rating System enables improvement of power utilisation by addressing energy consumption reduction in data processing, precision and comfort air conditioning systems, lighting & building envelop. The Data Center Rating System aims at improving the average PUE (Power Usage Effectiveness) of Data Centers in the country by about 20-25% in the next 5 years.

Water Conservation: 

In India, the water table has reduced drastically over the last decade. The IGBC Green Data Center Rating System encourages use of water in a sustainable manner through reduce, recycle and reuse strategies. Enabling the implementation of these water conservation measures under the IGBC Data Center Rating System, a potential 25-30% of water savings can be achieved.

Renewable Energy: 

India is moving fast on the path of renewable energy and has a target of increasing the renewable energy installation by 175 GW by 2020 and reduce GHG (Green House Gases) emissions. The IGBC Green Data Center Rating System encourages Data Centers to substitute conventional power consumption through onsite and offsite renewable energy sources.

E-Waste Management: 

E-Waste is turning out to be a major area to be addressed in the country and Data Centers are one of the major generators of E-Waste. The IGBC Green Data Center Rating System encourages Data Centers to collect and handle such waste in an environmentally safe manner.

Reduced Dependency On Virgin Materials: 
The rating system encourages Data Centers to use recycled & reused materials, thereby reducing dependence on virgin materials. Furthermore, this would also help to reduce environmental impacts associated with extraction and processing of natural resources.

Health and Well-Being: 

Though the people occupancy in Data Centers is not dense, health and well-being of people is another important aspect addressed here. The rating system ensures providing adequate ventilation, daylight and occupant well-being facilities for the staff. It also recognises measures to minimise indoor air pollutants.

What Is Required From Us?

So now, while the Rating System in the form of a path ahead is well in place, the only thing required from us is: Compliance. We need to comply to the much required and environment-friendly norms in order to make our environment safe and display a sign of responsibility that we owe to the generations to come.

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