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May 18, 2017

Sustainable Water Strategies: A Key Consideration for Data Centers

You have probably noticed a new landmark in a town near you. Mega data centers are popping up across the country. The amount of data created and consumed increasing by the minute and enterprises are relying on data to manage day-to-day operations. There is an unprecedented need for facilities to hold the massive infrastructure needed to store, protect, transmit and analyze all of the data we create.

 Data center providers are positively impacting local and state economies and landscapes. Innovative companies like QTS are converting industrial brownfields into cutting-edge facilities, while the technological infrastructure being built is driving business development in this areas.

An important consideration many municipalities and state agencies are exploring with their data center partners is water conservation and sustainable water utilization strategies. And as the industry becomes more efficient and while the number of data centers in operation increasing, the Department of Energy reports that their energy usage is plateauing.

 The IT industry is continually looking to build more energy-efficient facilities that have a smaller impact on the environment. Water conservation is an integral aspect of green initiatives and at the core of sustainable water strategies are innovation, efficient design and smart water utilization.

 Innovative, Efficient Design

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, Certifications are a driving force behind changing the way builders “think about how buildings and communities are planned, constructed, maintained and operated.” By creating an independent certification system, LEED is pushing data center companies to continually innovate to build smarter. Providers must utilize cutting-edge construction strategies, adept floor plan design and quality building materials, as well as advanced technology when building their electrical, cooling and networking outlay, to ensure maximum efficiency and reduced heat production. Less heat produced, less cooling required. Less cooling required, more water conservation.

Smart Water Utilization

As data centers grow larger, so do their roofhahas. Installing advanced rainwater harvest systems on top of structures is a sustainable way to reduce groundwater consumption. It’s also vital to incorporate both air cooling and water cooling systems to balance a load. Every ounce counts, so reusing water from humidifiers and sand filters, as well as installing water efficient fixtures and water recycling systems, can dramatically impact external resource utilization.

QTS harvests roughly 5.4 million gallons of roof-top rainwater at our Atlanta data center each year and recycled 28 million gallons of water company-wide. Water conservation is a fundamental element of our Sustainability and Efficiency Strategy.  

sustainability