21 December

Go-Green with STT GDC Data Centres

It is no secret that the biggest powerhouses of data, data centres, are voracious energy consumers. They host rows and stacks of circuits that are home to data from all around the world and thus, need a lot of care as far as the equipment deployed is concerned. With the growing demand for reliable and easy to access backups, it becomes a mandate to secure, cool and transmit data effectively. All of this collectively hogs immense amount of energy. How else does one ensure 100% uptime for all equipment like servers, consoles, cooling systems etc? The problem is two-fold. There is energy consumption on one hand and carbon emissions on the other.

A much-anticipated report referenced to by Guardian states that communications industry alone would consume 20% of the global electricity by 2025. Also, the carbon emissions by the ICT industry would be 5.5% of the global value. Out of this, data centres alone would constitute 3.2%. This alarming trend was identified by STT GDC India quite early on and we took it upon ourselves to initiate damage-control. Being the colocation provider with the largest data centre footprint in the country, it is our responsibility to make our centres energy-efficient.

We turned green! STT GDC India is now India’s largest user of renewable energy in way of solar and wind power. The benefits being-

  • Reduces the capital and operating costs
  • Assists in capacity optimization
  • Enhances speed to market
  • Reduced carbon footprint
  • Creates a differentiation for customer demanding green solutions

STT's initiatives and benefits garnered

There cannot be a more compelling time to reduce opex and give back to the environment. Our IT strategy as a whole needed redefining. The power needed to be optimized for two major sources- the one supporting the IT infrastructure and the other supporting the physical infrastructure. Here’s how we did this-

  • Majority of STT GDC India's purpose-built DCs are IGBC LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) GOLD / CEEDA (Certified Energy Efficient Data Centre Award) certified. This speaks volumes about our commitment to Green Building Concept and on environmental conservation. STT Mumbai DC 3 in BKC, is the first DC in Asia and the third DC in the world to attain CEEDA GOLD Certificate.
  • We have also obtained the Environmental Management System (EMS) - ISO 14001 certifications for all our data centre facilities.
  • We have reduced our carbon footprint (greenhouse gas emission) by sourcing renewable energy (wind /solar) - currently, 34 % of our power consumption is from renewable sources.
  • We also developed a rainwater harvesting system that has been deployed at the Mumbai, Chennai & Pune facilities
  • We ensure the recycling of water via a Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) installed at one of our prime locations.
  • Some initiatives taken for the management of hazardous waste are-
    • Batteries are recycled as per the Battery Management rules
    • Hazardous waste (like used lube oil) is recycled through authorized recyclers
    • Strict enforcement of plastic management rules.

All of our above initiatives have been put together to ensure that our policies match the vision of most of our customers that are focussed on environmentally sustainable solutions. While our operating costs have reduced considerably, we also are able to have the resources last longer by recycling them. It has been a win-win for every stakeholder involved and we ensure that every new facility of STT GDC India is Green-ready!

Case Study- STT Chennai DC 2

Our Data Centre located at Ambattur, Chennai is a state-of-art example of our go-green initiatives. A lot of research, design and strategizing has gone into creating this self-sustainable green data centre.

A few specifications-

  • Size- 4 lakh sq ft
  • Power Capacity- 20 MW (scalable to 40-45 MW)
  • Certifications- TL 9000, ISO 14001, 20000, 27001, PCI DSS, SOC1 (ISAE 3402 /SSAE 18) Type2 LEED Gold Certified
  • Design Uptime: 99.982
  • TIA-942 Rated 3

In our endeavour to have an agile and customized approach towards service, we have ensured a strategic shift towards clean energy and water conservation.

Renewable Energy Initiatives at STT Chennai DC 2
Water Conservation Initiatives at STT Chennai DC 2
  • We have contracted to purchase 64 mn of KWH renewable energy which constitutes ~64% of the total electricity consumption.
  • We reduced our water consumption by installing water-recycling technologies and using this recycled water for chiller cooling tower.
  • Our dedicated 30 MW solar plant located further south of TN, provides clean energy to this facility.
  • We ensure that 60% of the blow-down water is sent back to the tower, thereby reducing wastage.
  • We support new energy-purchase models. For example- long-term contracts to buy renewable energy from developers or renewable energy purchasing programs with utilities.
  • We have commissioned a 100 KL RO plant to reuse 50% tower's blow-down water

To keep this model sustainable, we constantly measure our annual carbon footprint. Despite our business growing rapidly, we have managed to reduce our carbon emissions. The energy use has steadily increased from the renewable sources.

Quantifying it, our carbon dioxide emission factor has seen a reduction of 33 mn kg per annum. Also, in addition to the 40% reduction in our energy bills, our water conservation initiatives have helped us save 18 MLD of water per annum at STT Chennai DC2.

Way Ahead

Fortunately, the technological developments have always been in tandem with business requirements as far as to future-sustainable green initiatives are concerned. Some of these advancements that we are exploring for future-use are as listed below.

  • New Green Captive Power generation system: It offers a clean & reliable power source, sans any surges/sags/interference. It can be used for directly powering on the critical server load without some of the intermediate power conditioning equipment.
  • NextGen Battery system: This works as an alternative to the existing UPS system. It offers a faster recharge time and occupies lesser floor space/floor loading capacity. This ensures less consumption of energy and higher assurance in case of recurring EB failure
  • Magnatron AC saver: It optimizes the AC performance by controlling the energy consumption. It deploys logic-based processors and temperature sensors for efficient monitoring of room and coil temperatures.
  • Gas-based captive power generation: Though a lot of our DCs are already equipped with scalable solar power installations, we are looking at gas-based designs for large campuses. Being an alternative source of power, it helps us hedge our risks pertaining to electricity supply and tariff fluctuations.