Editor: Christophe Garnier, Schneider Electric ITB
Contributors: Mark Aggar, Microsoft; Marc Banks, Deutsche Bank; Jay Dietrich, IBM; Bob Shatten, Individual Member; Markus Stutz, Dell; Emmanuel Tong-Viet, IBM
“As demand for environmental impact data has grown, industry organisations and regulatory bodies have developed a range of assessment methods,” says Christophe Garnier, who edited the report. “Each of these might focus on different specific environmental factors, life cycle stages, or products. It is little wonder given this complex landscape that organisations look to reduce their results to a single measurement – but by doing so they sacrifice the detail and clarity necessary to meaningfully analyse assessment results and make effective changes.”
Increasingly, both the public and private sectors are interested in determining a product or organisation’s environmental impact, also referred to as its environmental footprint. Whether for policy making, regulation compliance, or customer information purposes, environmental impact assessments are growing in importance and frequency.
A number of entities have developed methodologies and tools for assessing environmental impacts some can be applied in a limited way to a data centre. The current state of life cycle assessment (LCA) methodologies, the lack of applicable primary and secondary data for assessing data centre components and systems, and the complexity of the data centre create serious difficulties in performing a data centre LCA.
This Green Grid Report provides a framework and rules that can be used by organisations around the world to describe the specifics of their data centres in a consistent manner, so that all the different methodologies can evaluate a data centre’s environmental impacts in the same way.
The Green Grid’s framework is intended to be used by data centre owners, renters, and operators as a common basis in order to harmonise environmental impact studies. This white paper introduces the framework, highlights supporting industry standards, and discusses how to identify and uniformly describe the key elements of a data centre for the purposes of conducting a complete life cycle assessment of a data centre’s full environmental impacts.