Data centre construction continues unabated, leaving providers facing increasing criticism about their ecological footprints. Needless to say, for an industry that relies primarily on greenhouse gases, it’s about time providers go clean and embrace renewables.
Leading the charge towards a fossil-free future is Iron Mountain, a world leader in data and management services. On Tuesday, the company announced that its data centres in Belgium, Netherlands, and UK are now utilising all of their electricity from renewable sources.
Until now, the primary source of electricity for Iron Mountain has been coal and natural gas, two of the most harmful greenhouse gases. The company say that electricity use made up almost half of their GHG emissions in 2016.
It was only earlier this year that Iron Mountain pledged to make the transition to green after joining the RE100 initiative. At the time, the company articulated an ambitious goal of converting its entire global operations to renewables by 2050.
Tuesday’s announcement shows that they intend to honour this year’s commitment, and hopefully, they will set a standard for the wider industry.
Kevin Hagen, VP of Environmental Social and Governance Strategy for Iron Mountain, celebrated the announcement: “We look forward to expanding our RE100 commitment to other countries and regions, working with others to help create a greener, more equitable, cost-effective grid for everyone,” he said.
Steve Kowalkoski, senior VP for Iron Mountain UK & Ireland, also praised the news.
“We are aware we have an obligation to operate responsibly in the environments where we live and work, despite growth in our business. Looking across our operations, including the recent data centre acquisitions, they saw an opportunity and solved this environmental challenge in a way that’s good for our business and our customers while also ensuring we are prepared for future business and footprint growth.”
In August, Iron Mountain announced plans to construct a $430 million data centre in Phoenix, US.
Data centres currently account for almost 10 per cent of the world’s energy consumption. Aside from going green, companies like DeepMind are developing AI systems to help reduce a centre’s energy output. In 2016 the UK company famously reduced Google’s data centre cooling bill by 40%.