Colt: Vendors have a moral duty to run green data centres

Leaf laying on a circuit board

Hybrid cloud company Colt Data Centres today announced a big push into renewable energy by opting to run its European data centres on power generated from renewable sources.

While the option isn't available on all of its data centre sites, nine of the company's 17 European facilities now run exclusively on renewable energy, and Colt plans to make the others renewable when possible - though this isn't always the case.

In France, for example, the country's reliance on nuclear power and an energy generation shortfall makes it impossible for any data centre provider to guarantee 100% renewable power, Colt claimed, althought it does hope that planned developments for renewable energy will make up the shortfall by 2023.

"The global technology industry needs to face up to its global responsibilities, not least in the area of energy usage," said Colt CEO, Detlef Spang. "So far, most green' regulations are voluntary such as the European Commission's voluntary code of conduct for energy efficiency in data centres."

He added that the firm believes that the cloud and data centre industry has "a moral and ethical duty" to go far beyond the minimum requirements for sustainability, and to deploy techniques and new infrastructure technology that "will have a major and measurable effect on the resources we use".

This will require a lot of investment, Spang said, but by adopting the latest technologies and best practices, he believes it will be possible to deliver lower lifetime costs for its customers while ensuring "the smallest possible ecological footprint" in its territories where the company operates around the world.

"Colt's internal design team have embarked on a project to look at all forms of green energy to see how they will best [fit] into data centre designs going forward to ensure we are minimise the impact of Colt data centres to the environment," he added.

The announcement is part of a wider campaign by Colt to reduce the environmental impact of its worldwide network of data centres, which has also looked to kick off a strong drive internally to reduce CO2 emissions, optimising power usage effectiveness, and adopting new cooling technologies across its facilities to optimise the performance of their data centres.