Does the Data Centre industry need to radically change how it operates?

Smart Places is a consortium of companies focussed on using technology to make buildings easier and cheaper to operate and to help companies meet their ESG targets by reducing and measuring emission reduction. Smart Places has now focussed on the Data Centre industry as one of the highest users of energy and water and one which is under increasing scrutiny to improve its ESG standing.

We believe that the Data Centre industry needs to radically change how it operates and we have pulled together some trends, technology and suppliers that can do just that. 

What is different about our approach?

Smart Places is not a Data Centre builder or operator. Still, during our everyday operations in data networking, IoT and Media we have been able to source some key elements that will enable investors, developers and operators to create new Data Centres which are more efficient, greener and meet the ESG goals of their customers, investors and funders. 

Trends in Data Centres

  • Growth - CAGR of Data Centres in the UK is forecast at 15%, or more, by the end of the
    decade, driven by the growth in IT “cloud” based services and the projected impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) now appearing on phones and computers.
  • These factors are driving a large increase in power usage across the industry.
  • Increasing power density – new chips from Intel and NVIDIA consume so much power that they can no longer be cooled by air conditioning but need liquid cooling.
  • Liquid Cooling - New advances in liquid cooling technology by locating IT equipment in a bath of oil provide the opportunity to re-use the heat from the IT equipment. Heat can be more easily transferred to hot water, heating systems, swimming pools, and agriculture.
  • All Data Centres have been using “100% Green Power” purchased via the National Grid, but recently they have faced large increases in power costs. It is now a perfect time to look at lower-cost sources of energy that are also more directly green – i.e. wind and solar power backed up by the Grid and perhaps natural gas-powered generation locally.
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What does Smart Places bring?

Smart Places can identify and create detailed plans for sites that can deliver the following: Local Wind and Solar power in MW capacity with significantly lower costs than Grid prices. National Grid and possibly gas grid connectivity and capacity to back up the intermittent sources and ensure complete power resilience.

  • Land with Planning Permission for industrial use.
  • Green re-use of heat cases to improve the overall ESG ratings of the Data Centre development (Scope 1 2 and 3) and attract new sources of capital.
  • Connectivity planning and provision to ensure that the site is fully diversely connected to multiple carriers and attracts the widest possible range of tenants.
  • Smart Design and Operation using Internet of Things (IoT) devices to ensure operational efficiency.
  • Analytics and Reporting
  • Interface with manufacturers/providers of the latest DC technologies and services