Data centers and telcos, which have helped keep the world connected and businesses running amid the COVID-19 pandemic, are already preparing for a post-pandemic environment. While pursuing investments to realize digital transformation plans jump-started by pandemic distancing measures, these mission-critical facilities are also seeking ways to become more sustainable, particularly in terms of energy consumption. At Vertiv, as enablers of essential digital infrastructure and services solutions, we support clients in meeting this important eco-friendly challenge.
Addressing energy consumption is crucial, as data centers account for nearly 1% of total global energy consumption. The expected exponential traffic growth sparked by new 5G services is predicted to boost that figure by as much as four times. For telcos and their customers, the outlook translates into both increased energy usage and associated costs.
In February 2020, just weeks before the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic, which forced a massive digitalization drive, global consultancy McKinsey & Company issued a report analyzing telcos’ need to pursue a greener path. In the report, McKinsey predicted the number of data centers would increase as more services are provided at the edge. The report noted data centers account for 5-10% of telecom operators’ energy costs, while telcos themselves account for 2-3% of total global energy consumption and are often among the most energy-intensive companies in their markets.
The McKinsey report stated that only 15% of telcos’ energy is consumed while transferring data, while another 85% is wasted due to heat loss generated by power amplifiers and equipment left idling when there is no data transmission in progress. Other culprits include inefficiencies involving rectifiers, cooling systems, and battery units. Tackling such energy waste and boosting energy usage efficiency is where Vertiv has stepped in to provide innovative infrastructure solutions.
Vertiv last year partnered with Telefónica Colombia, the Colombian subsidiary of Spanish telecom operator Telefónica, to install a Vertiv™ Supersaver cooling system at the telco’s facilities. The high-efficiency and high-capacity thermal management system allows Telefónica Colombia to reduce energy consumption at its data center, as well as reducing its carbon footprint and helping it comply with tightened energy-related regulations. The company expects Vertiv’s solution to reduce its energy usage by some 40% in the driver units.
At another telco company, Vertiv installed the Liebert® PDX cooling system with an Econophase™ pumped refrigerant economizer at several of the company’s Latin American locations. Designed for small spaces such as server rooms and network closets, the direct cooling expansion system offers the industry’s highest efficiency, protection, and capacity per footprint. Thanks to this implementation, the company reduced energy usage by 30% annually, with the potential to save up to 50% in energy usage per year. In addition to data centers and telcos, the system is also well suited for other sectors, including banking, education, healthcare, government, and retail.
The COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally changed the ways companies conduct business, as well as altered the way clients interact with them. Yet, through this important market transformation, many companies, including telcos, have committed to making greater sustainability efforts. At Vertiv, we are proud to support these clients in enabling business continuity and critical services, and also providing solutions that contribute to making better use of our planet’s resources.