Schneider Electric: How data centres can reduce emissions

Schneider Electric announce an environmental metrics-reporting framework to help key industries, like data centres, navigate sustainability challenges

Schneider Electric announces a revised, standardised environmental metrics-reporting framework that includes business critical updates to help businesses navigate challenges.

Rising demands of AI and machine learning (AI/ML) has left industries like data centres tasked with undergoing rapid growth to support new technology advancements, whilst simultaneously reducing environmental impact to net zero.

The company’s whitepaper, first published in November 2021, was created to support and advance the data centre industry by providing the first standardised metrics for reporting on sustainability. This latest 2023 revision of the paper highlights Schneider Electric’s commitment to sustainability, as well as customer and industry association feedback that was requested.

A recommended data-driven approach

Achieving sustainable data centres is an ongoing process that requires commitment, investment and collaboration across the industry. By implementing these strategies and continuously seeking innovative solutions, data centres can minimise their environmental impact and still meet the growing demand for digital services.

Schneider Electric’s paper consists of 28 key sustainability metrics in five categories, including: energy, greenhouse gas emissions, water, waste and local ecosystems. As data centre companies are at different stages in their sustainability journey, according to Schneider Electric, the whitepaper outlines metrics across three reporting stages: Beginning, Advanced, and Leading. 

The company highlights how the Beginning stage has six metrics that represent basic reporting for energy, water use and greenhouse gas emissions, which are the core metrics required for every data centre. On the other hand, the Advanced stage includes more detailed metrics for energy, water, GHG emissions and introduces two new categories including waste and local ecosystem. The Leading stage adds even more detailed metrics to the existing categories.

In addition, Schneider Electric highlights a greater focus on the “local ecosystem” category to include “total land use”, “land use intensity” and “outdoor noise” metrics to measure the direct and indirect impact on biodiversity that certain industries have.

"The data centre industry is advancing rapidly and delivering innovative solutions at scale to support the world's growing digital transformation. Across all of our service lines, Iron Mountain recognises that without careful consideration to a comprehensive set of benchmarks, we're at risk of creating increased environmental impact,” says Mark Kidd, Executive Vice President & GM at Iron Mountain

“The performance measures within Schneider Electric's whitepaper defines a full landscape that should be considered, and the addition of E-waste metrics is timely and increasingly critical. Aligning on measures and methodology, and keeping visibility to the full extent of what should be measured, will help all data centre providers advance, collectively, towards the sustainable digital future we need,” he continues.

Schneider Electric’s Copilot: LLM technology to help businesses advance sustainability data

The updated framework coincides with Schneider Electric’s launch of the EcoStruxure Resource Advisor Copilot - a conversational AI tool designed to help business leaders interact with their enterprise energy and sustainability data.

In aiming to make energy smarter through digital innovation, the company used LLMs to build a secure Copilot that will equip energy and sustainability teams with enhanced data analysis, visualisation, decision support and performance optimisation. In addition, it will offer the ability to seamlessly process intricate industry knowledge and Resource Advisor system information. 

General availability of the solution is expected to occur in late 2023 or early 2024.

“Data centre operators are using a variety of different metrics making it harder to compare and benchmark sustainability progress and performance,” said Pankaj Sharma, Executive VP, Secure Power Division and Data Centre Business at Schneider Electric. “We need a standardised data-driven approach to align on where to improve and what to prioritise, as well as ways to identify and root out organisational reporting discrepancies in order to meet the expectations of stakeholders and governmental pledges.” 

He continues: “Through more credible and comparable data, we will be able to establish industry benchmarks for others to make valuable environmental changes. Without a unilateral approach to reporting, data centre organisations are at risk of losing vital time and efforts as regulatory requirements continue to grow in importance. 

“As a sign of our commitment to leading the data centre industry on sustainability initiatives, and in response to requests from our customers, we revised our original framework updating it with a newer set of metrics for organisations to progress their reporting.”


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