Global Vertical Market Leader for Data Centres at Trane Commercial
Before joining Trane Technologies in 2020, Miles Auvil has worked with some of the biggest names in data centre sustainability, including the likes of Schneider and Siemens.
In fact, he started his role with Schneider straight out of college. Then, over 14 years, he worked his way up through sales and technical channels, before working in the energy and sustainability group.
And, as the data centre industry grew, Auvil’s role transitioned in parallel to that sector. Sticking with the sustainability team, Auvil moved into a role with Siemens, specifically their building technologies division, with a heavy focus on data centres.
Five years later, Auvil joined Trane Technologies, as the Global Vertical Market Leader for Data Centers.
Sustainability in an electricity-dependent sector
“Trane Technologies has evolved to become, basically, a global climate innovator. We are very much focused on the electrification of heat, as well as the cooling of buildings.”
Within Trane, Auvil develops pioneering sustainability initiatives, which enable public and private buildings to significantly reduce their energy footprint.
While it’s immediately apparent how this would support the operations of small-scale enterprises, the nature of data centres makes this strategy a whole lot more complicated.
Initially, it’s hard to understand how a sector that is completely dependent on electricity can successfully outweigh its negative environmental impact. Not to mention how these sustainable technologies can be adopted at a pace that matches the sector’s rapid growth.
So, the obvious question for Auvil is, can data centres ever decarbonise to an effective degree?
“It is absolutely possible. Even a year ago, I would've never used the word decarbonise when talking about a data centre. But, in the last six months, the concept has really grabbed traction,” Auvil states.
Auvil’s future-proofing predictions for the data centre sector
Within the next year, Auvil expects to see a rapid shift in decarbonisation, specifically the reuse of heat generated from these data centres.
“We see a strong emphasis on direct liquid cooling, immersion cooling, and the reduction of water usage, so there will be significant demand for years to come.”
Building on this, Trane Technologies predicts that the refrigerant management topic is “paramount” to forward-thinking data centre businesses.
“There's a desire in the industry to, not just look at the low hanging fruit in the optimised category, but to understand the GWP level of refrigerants. A highly, highly valued topic within our customer base right now is their approach to refrigerant management. And the last piece of it is going to be the developmental aspect of the heating and the heat recovery of these facilities.”
“This has been adopted in a small way in Europe, but we expect that to change drastically. As this industry moves towards using immersion or direct liquid cooling, this will have a profound impact on the temperatures coming out of the data centre and make them highly monetisable when it comes to reusing that heat elsewhere in adjacent buildings, campuses, or districts.”
And, for Auvil personally, he doesn’t expect his workload to lighten any time soon.
“I have very little hair left, and that trend will continue.”
“I've been in this industry for 22 years, but, for the past six months, I've probably been busier than I've ever been in my entire career.”
“What is termed in the industry as ‘cloud wars' is very much a reality, and that is spurring a dramatic surge in demand for data centres, as well as our services and products. And what I see happening, in the next 24 to 36 months, is that the gas pedal stays down.”
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