InterviewsSustainability

Sustainability Should Also Look at the Whole Lifecycle of Products

Tassos Peppas, the Regional Director for the Middle East, Turkey, and Central Asia at Vertiv, says data centers have a key role in the journey toward net zero

How does technology contribute to sustainability?
Vertiv has a wealth of experience and expertise in bringing important technologies and best practices to the industry. A recent example is Vertiv’s white paper: Zeroing in on Sustainability Enhancing Efficiency While Maintaining Resiliency.

Data centers have a key role in the journey towards net zero also thanks to new applications like artificial intelligence and data analytics that can help other industries become more sustainable, such as agriculture or industry 4.0. Moreover, by providing grid support services via their UPS systems, larger data centers can help the transition to renewable energy sources whilst stabilizing the grid.

What sort of sustainability efforts does your company practice? Examples: minimal/recyclable packaging, use of recycled material for devices, green energy, low energy consumption, digital products and services, and so on.
The industry’s ever-increasing demand for data results in record-breaking demand for hyper-scale data centers which in turn consume large amounts of energy and resources. While the demand for hyper-scale data centers is at an all-time high level, businesses of all sizes are also looking for solutions that make their digital footprint sustainable.

The following are some of the current Vertiv initiatives that support the use of a multifaceted strategy for data center sustainability:

  1. Localization – Vertiv had opened new plants closer to their customers thus reducing the carbon footprint generated by shipping goods in shorter distances
  2. Innovative thermal management solutions developed to achieve a Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) close to 1. That means that the power required to cool servers / active equipment is minimised, while eliminating any water waste
  3. Advanced UPS (uninterruptible power supply) technology to support dynamic grid services, enabling the transition to renewable energy sources whilst stabilizing the grid.

Do we need to look at sustainability beyond the use of “green energy”?
Yes, as we know sustainability should also look at the whole lifecycle of products, including recycling and waste reduction to avoid any impact on the environment. “Green energy” is just a small part of the picture, there are many other strategies needed to reduce carbon emissions and combat climate change.

How can companies reduce their carbon footprint? Are there local or regional initiatives that encourage companies to adopt best practices?
Getting inspired by the UAE’s local government initiative of paperless transactions, Vertiv in the Middle East also adopts a highly digitized internal process when it comes to daily operations and activities. This is just a simple example of many other regional and global activities that Vertiv adopted to minimize its carbon footprint.

Vertiv is creating a system to track the amount of electricity, water, and waste used throughout the company and to calculate our carbon footprint. Vertiv has implemented a number of environmental improvement projects concurrently, including the use of LED lighting, equipment modifications, and the purchase of renewable energy.

With regard to environmental improvements and cutting-edge health and safety procedures, our EHS professionals actively support and advise our manufacturing facilities and Service organization. All staff has access to training on best practices for waste reduction and sustainably designed work through the rollout of the Vertiv Operating System (VOS), and they are expected to adhere to these standards.

What challenges do companies face today in their journey toward net zero and how can technology help solve those issues?
Taking a look at Vertiv’s white paper titled: Zeroing in on Sustainability Enhancing Efficiency While Maintaining Resiliency we take a look at some of the challenges companies faces which Vertiv provided the solution to, such as the below:

  1. Enhancing Power Utilization and Efficiency
  2. Managing Higher Densities
  3. Moving to Locally Generated Renewable Power

The above challenges highlight that data center operators must balance the need of decreasing their environmental impact with the difficulty of accommodating growing capacity requirements. Fortunately, although the technology necessary to support local renewable power generation continues to progress, there are solutions available now from data center equipment manufacturers, such as Vertiv, that enable operators to boost utilization, minimize water and energy usage, and cut emissions.

What factors can help companies advance toward their sustainability goals?
There are many factors, however, we have first-hand experience through witnessing large hyper-scale operators who have set targets to become carbon neutral or carbon negative by the end of this decade and are driving the industry shift. These operators are leading the industry in defining a roadmap and advancing technologies that support these objectives.

In order to meet market demand for data center services that support the environmental objectives of their enterprise customers, several colocation providers are now transitioning to carbon-neutral and water-efficient operations. In order to achieve such objectives, businesses must also consider the impact of their on-site data centers.

In order to satisfy the rising demand of the digital world, Vertiv is dedicated to improving the sustainability of its global operations and collaborating with clients to offer sustainable solutions. By concentrating on innovation and ethical business methods that contribute to a more sustainable future for our sector, our people, and our planet, we as creators of crucial digital infrastructure will be able to meet the growing need for data in the modern-day.

  1. A dedication to abiding by all relevant environmental rules and regulations
  2. Putting new procedures into practice to cut down on greenhouse gas emissions and save resources like water, electricity, and other natural resources in buildings
  3. Use recycling and source reduction to reduce and, whenever possible, eliminate any waste
  4. Hold regular training sessions to inform staff about new or evolving legal requirements, waste minimization techniques, and technological advancements.
  5. As part of a company’s efforts to adhere to these standards, review operations.
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Chris Fernando

Chris N. Fernando is an experienced media professional with over two decades of journalistic experience. He is the Editor of Arabian Reseller magazine, the authoritative guide to the regional IT industry. Follow him on Twitter (@chris508) and Instagram (@chris2508).

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