Green Data Centers : Towards a Sustainable Digital Transformation - A Practitioner's Guide (English)
29 November 2023
Reliable, secure data hosting solutions are becoming increasingly important to support everyday functions across societies, including for public management and service delivery. As a result, investments in data infrastructure are increasing around the world, contributing to growth of the digital economy and to goals for digital transformation of public administration and services. Data infrastructure such as data centers and cloud solutions are essential for modern societies, but they are also highly energy intensive and consume refrigerants and often large amounts of water for cooling. As such, they leave a large environmental footprint and contribute to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Climate change also affects data centers. Climate hazards such as floods and increasing temperatures put data centers at risk and require site specific adaptation measures to protect investments and ensure resilient data storage. To ensure sustainable digital transformation, efforts are needed to green digital infrastructure, this includes managing climate risks and reducing the climate and environmental footprint of data centers. A wide range of practitioners are involved in decisions related to greening data centers. These individuals encompass policy makers developing digital economy and digital transformation strategies, as well as the engineers and technicians working every day on the floors of data centers. This guide takes the vantage point of public practitioners, but its fundamental principles apply to any stakeholder engaged in policymaking, regulation, or the development, operation, or procurement of data center infrastructure and services. Opportunities for and barriers to greening data centers are context specific, and strategies and policies should consider local conditions. Designed with a global outlook, the guide examines specific challenges and opportunities in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).