Design and Construction Strategies for Sustainable Data Centers Roundtable

New approaches to energy, water, carbon which drive the next generation of data centers

The roundtable series will be shared in four parts, each posted to this page. Segments covering embodied carbon and what's next will be released soon.

The Cloud is part of everyone’s personal and professional lives. Everything from hospital records to social media platforms to banking is backed onto servers that live in large data centers. This dependency creates new challenges as digital infrastructures continue to grow. Sustainability continues to be a challenge for these energy-intensive data centers, so the question is, what does it take for companies to design and build more energy-efficient, resilient spaces?

DPR hosted a roundtable discussion to delve into the drive to create a more sustainable industry, focusing on energy, water and embodied carbon and looking at what the future holds when creating a truly green Cloud. Participants included:

  • Ryan Poole, global sustainability leader at DPR Construction
  • Greg Metcalf, senior director, global design at Equinix
  • Denis Blanc, director of sustainability at Sheehan Nagle Hartray Architects
  • Joshua Hatch, principal at Brightworks Sustainability
Sustainable Energy Strategies
Energy: The industry’s focal point

Data centers consume 1-2% of the world’s energy and the demand for them is only increasing as consumers continue to depend on the digital services they provide. As an industry, energy use—specifically lowering it—is the biggest topic of conversation. But how should the industry address this?

Part 1 of the roundtable discussion focuses on understanding what affects data center energy usage, energy efficiency, cooling solutions, site selection and the effects a microgrid has on our daily lives.

Sustainable Water Strategies
Water: A growing concern as supply beings to dwindle in some regions

Every heated server rack is backed by complex MEP cooling systems. Keeping these servers and overall data halls at an optimal temperature requires innovative cooling solutions that depend on water. Understanding that water has an energy footprint, it’s a complex issue and sensitive to water scarcity in some locations.

In part 2 of this video series, panelists touch upon the importance of water analysis during site selection, cooling strategies that balance energy and water use, tactics to reduce water use during construction and more.