The Sustainable Data Centre: The Path to Business & Environmental Resilience


15 June 2020

As a responsible business, Interxion, a Digital Realty company, has already begun to witness the effects of climate change and its impact on all corners of society, from businesses to communities. As a result, sustainability is receiving top priority. And, as our lives become digitised and all aspects of society become more reliant on data centres, we are working hard to enhance our sustainability performance through a variety of energy-efficient initiatives.

Interxion’s Director of Group Energy Projects Vinh Thông Le Nhut recently joined Digital Realty’s Senior Director of Sustainability Aaron Binkley for the ‘The Sustainable Data Centre’ webinar to discuss how we plan to reach our shared sustainability goals.

During the webinar, Binkley highlighted Digital Realty’s commitment to setting a science-based target, joining the Science-Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) and working to bring its global emissions in line with a well below 2-degree climate change scenario by 2030. To help reach this goal, he discussed how the company has enlisted climate and sustainability experts, such as Nalco Water – represented on the webinar panel by its VP & GM Global Data Centers Heather Dubois – to analyse water quality and scarcity across regions in order to provide individual data centre improvements that enhance portfolio-wide water stewardship.

Binkley also discussed how Interxion’s 50+ data centres in Europe – part of Digital Realty’s global network of 275+ facilities spanning six continents – will play an integral role in helping meet Digital Realty’s 2030 goal, as many are powered by renewable energy. Le Nhut reviewed that when Interxion builds data centres, they choose to work with partners that are willing to collaborate to ensure the designs are the most efficient and effective solutions in terms of sustainability.

For example, Interxion has a relationship with Schneider Electric, represented on this panel by John Hoekstra, VP of Sustainability, and works hand in hand with their research and development teams to optimize energy-efficient equipment such as cooling infrastructure and power supply.

Interxion will continue to investigate new ways to innovate, such as the upcoming deployment of a new river-based cooling solution for data centres in Marseille, in partnership with EDF Services.

Matt Butts, SVP for Business and Development at EDF, also joined the panel to discuss the work behind the company’s central goal: be an efficient, responsible electricity company that champions low carbon growth.

Looking ahead

The panellists agreed that it is unclear how the current global pandemic – COVID-19 – will impact sustainability projects across industries, largely due to unstable budgets and decreasing fossil fuel prices. Nevertheless, Interxion remains focused on continued progress on its sustainability journey, and in the short term the lockdowns have created a test-bed for businesses to test-drive sustainable practices, such as virtual data centre tours and conferences, which could be permanently adopted.

An article published on National Geographic’s website highlights that designing a more sustainable world is a long-term journey that requires ongoing attention. Businesses must continue to examine their total supply chains to move toward sustainability goals. Those that respond to the call will not only make a positive environmental impact but will also see increased business, as more companies seek partners that can contribute to their sustainability goals.

To learn more about how Digital Realty and partners are working together to create sustainable data centres, watch the webinar here.