A sustainable Green Data Centre, fact or fiction


Brian O'Hora - TCD

The Challenge – Trinity College Strategic Plan 2009 – 2014 action item 6.10— Make Trinity a green campus states; “we will develop a sustainability policy for a green campus. Future building projects will include sustainability as key design and construction criteria, and we will seek to achieve the highest sustainability ratings practicable for each project. The College will aim to position itself at the forefront of sustainable, low energy procurement initiatives in all future construction projects.” This presentation concerns a case study of a process to deliver the typical higher education micro data centre functional challenges of; scalability, modularity, availability, security, manageability, high power density, shared services enabled, within a space and planning constrained foot print of inner the city, and with sustainability of comparable importance to functionality.

The Data Centre solution was required to demonstrate measurable deliverables in term of energy efficiencies, reduction in carbon foot print, Return Of Investment and reduced year on year operational costs. Further, EU Code of Conduct for Data Centre compliance was a minimum requirement and deliverable. Power utilisation monitoring was required at two levels, integration with the existing College wide building automation system and at a more granular level to support EU Code Of Conduct requirements and chargeback to PDU outlet level. In essence the data centre solution was required to be a Green showcase.

While the as-built commissioning Power Usage Effectiveness, (ratio of total facility power consumed divided by the power consumed by the IT equipment), was more favourable than anticipated across the entire capacity range of the facility, the question remains, are the sustainability and green credentials justified?