Apple Data Centres: Fuelling a Sustainable Revolution

Apple continues to power sustainability across its data centre portfolio through server design, water conservation and waste reduction

Apple’s data centres are hungry for power.

Its data centres consumed 2.344bn kWh of electricity in 2023 alone to power its data centres and colocation facilities around the world. This figure is an increase from 2.14bn kWh the previous year.

However, despite such immense electricity use, 100% of the electricity used came from renewable sources. Apple highlights in its Environmental Progress Report that these sources include solar, wind, biogas fuel cells and low-impact hydropower.

Likewise, Apple’s colocation data centre energy use fell for the first time in the company’s history, down to 483m kWh from a 2022 peak of 487.9 kWh. Conversely, its colocation power consumption grew by an average of 14.49%.

As a result, Apple is putting efforts into building its own renewable power projects, in addition to working with utilities to purchase clean energy from local resources. The company is committed to a 100% renewable outlook, even as its data centre continues to boom.

Accelerating environmental progress with innovation

As one of the leading data centre hyperscalers worldwide, Apple operates a large network of data centres to support its services. These services include iCloud, Apple TV+, iMessage and Siri in markets across the United States, Denmark and the People’s Republic of China - with more data centres under construction in Europe.

Its data centres have been powered by 100% renewable energy since 2014, with its renewable energy projects reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 54% from its facilities worldwide.

Currently, the technology giant serves one billion people with its cloud services. In order to improve its sustainability outlook, Apple is also developing innovative cooling technologies for its data centres. The company states that this will enable it to increase the cooling capacity of its existing facilities and therefore maximise the number of servers within its data centre footprint.

Each data centre run by Apple has unique design features that seek to conserve energy and reflect the climate of its location.

“In 2023, we continued to see energy savings at data centres,” Apple states in its Environmental Progress Report. “A proprietary server design we deployed in 2021 that focused on energy and computing efficiency resulted in an additional 36 million kilowatt-hours per year in energy savings.”

Apple upgrades its sustainability strategies

At Apple’s data centres, server upgrades in 2023 resulted in 12 million gallons of water being saved, according to the company’s report.

Apple also states that it tracks corporate water use for its data centres, retail stores, distribution centres and corporate offices.
  • 3% other alternative sources: Capturing rainwater and condensate as alternative water sources for onsite use.
  • 9% recycled water: A key alternative to freshwater for irrigation, cooling systems and toilet flushing.
  • 88% freshwater: Apple defines this as drinking-water quality, the majority of which comes from municipal sources, with less than 5% sourced from groundwater.

Likewise, according to Apple’s Environmental Progress Report, its corporate facilities waste diversion rate increased to 74%, driven by its data centre progress. In 2020, the company achieved carbon neutrality across all corporate emissions.

“We’ve made significant progress by cutting emissions across our value chain by more than 55 percent since 2015,” Apple’s report reads. “We remain focused on implementing energy reduction measures across our [data centre] facilities.

“Achieving efficiency across our footprint is essential to meeting our 2030 carbon neutrality goal.”

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