Equinix Defines the Path to a Sustainable Future by Optimizing Data Center Operations

Leveraging innovative technologies to boost efficiency and green digital infrastructure

John Mansfield
Equinix Defines the Path to a Sustainable Future by Optimizing Data Center Operations

Data center demand has been steadily rising as businesses turn towards digital infrastructure and services to accelerate their own digital transformation journeys. Interconnection and sustainability are approaching an intersection and emerging as key business priorities, recognized by internal and external stakeholders as crucial for long-term success. Customers and employees are demanding accountability from organizations regarding the sustainability of their supply chains and are pushing for proactiveness in making operations ethical and green. In the Asia-Pacific region, 67% of IT decision-makers have stated that they would only work with IT partners that prove they meet key carbon-reduction targets, according to Equinix’s Global Tech Trends Survey.

As the world’s digital infrastructure company with a global footprint of 250 data centers, Equinix recognizes our role in spearheading sustainability for businesses in the region as they embark on their respective digital transformation journeys. With our Future First sustainability strategy, Equinix is at the forefront of driving greener digitalization outcomes, with a comprehensive global roadmap aimed at achieving 100% renewables coverage and climate neutrality by 2030. In the Asia-Pacific region, we have already realized a landmark milestone of 100% renewables coverage across all of our data centers in China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Korea, India and Japan through the purchase of various local and international Energy Attribute Certificates (EACs), including Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs).

Improving data center efficiency and reliability in Asia-Pacific

Setting a remarkable example for the data center industry, Equinix has been proactively integrating cutting-edge innovations utilizing AI, cooling, and temperature optimization technology to enhance operational efficiency and reduce our carbon footprint.

Hong Kong – Artificial Intelligence (AI) Chiller Plant Optimization and Energy Management Platform

Equinix is the first data center operator in Hong Kong to implement an energy management platform that uses AI to optimize temperature ranges of its data centers.

The platform is a key energy efficiency tool that automatically adjusts temperature controls within chiller units, condensing and chilling water pumps and cooling tower units for peak efficiency. The system provides 24/7 monitoring and early diagnosis notifications of equipment deficiencies through automatic alerts generated by the built-in Fault Detection & Diagnosis (FDD) function to assist operators with existing maintenance practices.

Successful implementation of the energy management platform has resulted in energy savings of 5% over the year. The net energy savings exceeded our initial estimates, setting a new benchmark for cooling efficiency and energy usage in the data center industry.

Singapore – Electronically Commutated (EC) Fan and Sustainability Partnerships

Equinix performed an industry-first project in our data centers in Singapore to retrofit the existing Alternating Current (AC) induction fan motor with an Electronically Commutated (EC) fan. This improved the overall efficiency of cooling towers, leading to advanced cooling performance and significant cost savings for cooling tower operation expenses.  Equinix will continue to retrofit another 15 cooling towers in Singapore with these EC Fans and is targeting the end of 2023 to be completed. These projects are expected to reduce overall energy consumption and carbon emissions for our Singapore operations.

Equinix also works closely with the government and industry bodies to accelerate Singapore’s green agenda. We collaborated with the National University of Singapore (NUS) Centre for Energy Research & Technology (CERT) to launch one of the world’s first research projects to explore technologies that enable the use of hydrogen as a green fuel source for mission-critical data center infrastructure. In addition, Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), Dell Technologies, and Equinix recently joined forces to reshape digital infrastructure practices, emphasizing green technology solutions and sustainable deployment strategies across the region. This partnership will focus on optimizing hardware-software integration, providing guidance for sustainable infrastructure deployment and developing a robust framework to measure and audit energy and carbon emission savings.

Australia – Heat Circulation Pump Retrofit

Equinix has retrofitted heat circulation pumps across all of our data center power generators nationally to provide consistent heating across the generator engine block and provide greater reliability and overall energy savings. The modifications create a more consistent temperature in the data center that meets our generator operating temperature benchmark of 27°C, increasing the reliability and lifespan of existing hoses due to lowered temperatures. The retrofit is implemented in a way that makes replacing the pumps easy in the long term.

Solar PV, the fastest growing renewable power generation source in Australia, contributed approximately 10% of the country’s electricity in 2020-21.[1] Leveraging Australia’s abundant solar energy resource, we also took a direct approach to investing in renewables by launching solar projects in 2021. The solar system portfolio in Australia comprises seven IBX data centers and one xScale data center in Canberra, Melbourne, and Sydney.

Fostering sustainability across every aspect and metric

Collective efficiency initiatives have netted Equinix an annual energy consumption reduction of approximately 69,000 megawatt hours globally, bringing us another step closer to climate neutrality by 2030.

The data center of the future will require not just innovation and renewables coverage, but collaborative effort among our stakeholders and digital leaders as well. As Asia-Pacific places a greater focus on sustainability in its drive for further economic growth, Equinix will continue to work alongside like-minded partners to advance the development of talent to achieve greater outcomes in both sustainability and interconnection.

Watch this video to hear from our executive team about our sustainability commitment.

[1] https://arena.gov.au/renewable-energy/solar/

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John Mansfield SVP, Asia-Pacific Operations
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