Feeds

Standards claim to make green IT more than just marketing

Less waste, more speed

Boost IT visibility and business value

Building greener data centres to gain environmental creds and avoid vilification as an enviro-criminal is a step closer with availability of the BREEAM data centre assessment method.

BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) is the UK's foremost provider of environmental building assessments and is an ex-government agency, the Building Research Establishment, with a history going back to 1917 and involvement in fire protection research. Although run by a charity, BRE Global, it is no woolly green organisation.

It has produced an assessment method for data centres after receiving a lot of requests from clients, according to Martin Townsend, its director. Since data centres were blamed for two per cent of global carbon emissions some years ago, data centre builders and operators have been keen to improve their environmental credentials, and the BREEAM assessment method is a way to do this.

Assessments can be carried out on new buildings, major refurbs, fit outs of existing data centre buildings or a combination of these. The assessment involves scoring the building against sets of criteria for things like energy consumption, land use, and waste. The assessor looks at things like use of recycled aggregates, use of construction materials with a low environmental impact, and responsibly sourced low thermal insulation levels specified to optimise energy demand.

Each sector score is weighted and added to produce a simple overall grading of pass, good, very good, excellent or outstanding.

Jim Smith, a senior executive of Digital Realty Trust, one of the world's largest operators of data centres, said: "Sustainability is important to our brand position." It doesn't cost money in the long run: "All the things in the standard have a net present positive value, a payback period."

He is keen on BREEAM, reckoning it can be great for clients interested in sustainability: "All of our UK work and the bulk of our international work will be BREEAM-certified."

One aspect of the assessment method is the weighting. Dr Robert Tozer, a BREEAM assessor, thought that the weightings did not give enough value to the embodied energy in data centre materials, such as metal equipment. The production of these materials is very energy-intensive and that ought to be reflected in the relevant section weighting.

Townsend said that BREEAM constantly reviews its assessment methods and updates them.

Smith thought the BREEAM data centre method was obviously worthwhile. "Clients love this certification [and] the higher up the client organisation the more important it becomes. It means green procurement ... It really doesn't change any of the cost... Just on the marketing and branding position it should be worth it [and] the buildings will probably cost less to run." ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
The Return of BSOD: Does ANYONE trust Microsoft patches?
Sysadmins, you're either fighting fires or seen as incompetents now
Microsoft: Azure isn't ready for biz-critical apps … yet
Microsoft will move its own IT to the cloud to avoid $200m server bill
Oracle reveals 32-core, 10 BEEELLION-transistor SPARC M7
New chip scales to 1024 cores, 8192 threads 64 TB RAM, at speeds over 3.6GHz
Docker kicks KVM's butt in IBM tests
Big Blue finds containers are speedy, but may not have much room to improve
US regulators OK sale of IBM's x86 server biz to Lenovo
Now all that remains is for gov't offices to ban the boxes
Gartner's Special Report: Should you believe the hype?
Enough hot air to carry a balloon to the Moon
Flash could be CHEAPER than SAS DISK? Come off it, NetApp
Stats analysis reckons we'll hit that point in just three years
Dell The Man shrieks: 'We've got a Bitcoin order, we've got a Bitcoin order'
$50k of PowerEdge servers? That'll be 85 coins in digi-dosh
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.