Green Data Centers

Equinix met 56% OF OUR GLOBAL ELECTRICITY REQUIREMENTS in 2016 through renewable energy purchases.

Equinix Singapore SG3 Data Center

Our Renewable Energy Principles

We have a long-term goal of using 100% clean and renewable energy for our global platform. To support this goal, we have identified four principles to help us guide our renewable energy purchasing decisions:

  • We prefer to utilize renewable and low carbon energy
  • We prefer local sources of energy
  • We prefer new or recently built energy sources
  • We seek favorable renewable energy policies when locating new data centers

Our Progress

At Equinix we have a long history of investing in sustainable data centers. In fact Equinix’s energy efficiency program dates back to the dawn of our beginning. In the early 2000s we were cognizant of our choice of construction materials and looked to implement energy efficient components into all of our new builds. More recently we have continued to tackle efficiency, while also increasing our focus on renewable energy both onsite and offsite. As a result of our efforts we have:

  • Increased our global renewable energy total from 28% in 2014 and 33.5% in 2015 to 56% in 2016.
  • In 2016, exceeded our public RE100 target of 50% renewable energy against a 2015 baseline (1,278 GWh targeted) by end of 2017. Our 2016 renewable energy coverage (56% in 2016 or 79% against 2015) has greatly exceeded our goal.
  • Achieved 81% renewable energy in Europe by maintaining 100% renewable energy in legacy Europe sites as we have grown and trueing up Telecity acquisition sites as contracts come up for renewal.
  • Signed Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) in Texas and Oklahoma for 225 MW of new wind capacity. Our Wake, Texas wind farm came online November 1, 2016 and our Rush Springs, Oklahoma wind farm came online December 1, 2016. Renewable energy from these agreements is estimated to cover 73% of our North American load in 2017. We continue to look for new opportunities to procure solar and wind in the U.S. to bring our coverage up to 100%.
  • Invested in onsite deployments of clean energy including solar panels in Singapore and Amsterdam and fuel cells in San Jose, California and Frankfurt
  • Adopted more aggressive regional PUE design targets 8-10% less on average

In 2016, Equinix met 56% of its global electricity requirements through renewable energy purchases. Our global strategy includes 100% certified green power in Europe, onsite generation from solar panels and fuel cells and renewable energy certificates generated from our long term power purchase agreements for wind power from Texas, Oklahoma, International RECs and emission reduction credits in China and Japan.

These renewable energy purchases are on top of any renewable energy already distributed through the power grid from our existing utilities and suppliers.

Our location-based Scope 2 carbon footprint for 2016 was 1,526,837 metric tons of CO2 (37% Americas, 27% Asia Pacific, 36% Europe). This is up from 1,122,413 mtCO2e in 2015 due to our large acquisitions of Telecity and Bit-isle as well as organic growth of our business.

Factoring in the impact of our renewable purchases, our market-based carbon footprint was 797,792 mtCO2 (49% Americas, 32% Asia Pacific, 19% Europe). Our market-based footprint was nearly flat since 2015 (795,669 mtCO2e in 2015 or 0.3% increase year over year) due to our expanded purchasing of renewable energy throughout the world. These numbers were assured to ISO 14064-3 standards for Scope 1 and Scope 2.

Green data centers

Our Energy Mix

In 2016, with the continuous expansion of our businesses, Equinix consumed 3,962 GWh of electricity or the equivalent of 341,000 average U.S. residential homes.

Our regional energy consumption breakdown in 2016 was:

  • Americas: 1,463 GWh (40%)
  • Asia Pacific: 722.7 GWh (20%)
  • Europe: 1,506 GWh (41%)

Our effective 2015 electricity resource mix directly supplied by our utilities and suppliers was:

  • Americas: Renewables 19%, Coal 21%, Natural Gas 25%, Nuclear 25%
  • Asia Pacific: Renewables 3%, Coal 29%, Natural Gas 41%, Nuclear 6%
  • Europe: Renewables 30%, Coal 25%, Natural gas 17%, Nuclear 22%)

*Please note we will provide the 2016 mix as it becomes available. These numbers do not reflect our renewable energy purchases.

Our purchases of renewable energy give Equinix an effective coverage of 56% globally in 2016.

  • Americas: 41% renewable
  • Asia Pacific: 36% renewable
  • Europe: 81% renewable

*These percentages are calculated based on specific supplier contracts, utility or supplier specific generation mix where available; as well as reported regional electricity grid mixes. Equinix will continue to progress aligning with the amended Scope 2 Guidance of The Greenhouse Gas Protocol Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard. Note, the 2015 values exclude recent M&A activity such as Telecity, Bit-isle and Verizon Terramark.

Equinix’s energy efficiency programs have helped us avoid 260,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions since 2011. That’s the same amount of carbon as 55,000 cars emit driving 600 million miles (or around 11,000 miles each).

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Green Innovation

Since 2011, we have invested $86 million in energy efficiency upgrades, retrofits, and improvements; with another $20 million in execution in 2017 and beyond. Our investments have helped us avoid 22,000 kilowatts of demand annually or 600,000 MWh since 2011 roughly equivalent to avoiding 260,000 metric tons in CO2 emissions around the world. We continue to expand our energy efficiency program (EEP) and maximize opportunities for continuous improvement within our data centers.

Learn more about Equinix PUE Design

Green technologies deployed globally

Green data centers

Adaptive control systems reduce power consumption and increase cooling capacity through active airflow management using intelligent, distributed sensors and innovative control policies.

Green data centers

ASHRAE thermal guidelines are used as reference in our newest facilities to optimize interior temperatures. This reduces power consumption for cooling, while maintaining a safe operating temperature for computing equipment.

Green data centers

Cold/hot aisle containment uses physical barriers to reduce the mixing of cold air in data center supply aisles with the hot air in their exhaust aisles. This results in lower energy consumption and more efficient cooling.

Green data centers

Energy-efficient lighting systems in our data centers use motion-activated controls to reduce energy consumption and ambient heat from operating lights.

Green data centers

Variable frequency drives are deployed in chillers, pumps and fans in our HVAC systems to save energy by automatically reducing a motor's speed and power draw to match lower system loads.

 

IBX Green Innovations

When Equinix designs and builds new International Business Exchange™ (IBX®) data centers, we reduce energy use and shrink our carbon footprint by taking advantage of unique site conditions. The examples below describe green technologies deployed at select IBX data centers.

  • Aquifer Thermal Energy Storage (ATES)

    Aquifer Thermal Energy Storage (ATES)

    The ATES system at Equinix's AM3 IBX in Amsterdam uses cold groundwater to help chill air on the colocation floor, eliminating the need for traditional mechanical cooling. When temperatures rise above 18 degrees Celsius (64 degrees Fahrenheit), the ATES system kicks in to keep equipment cool. At other times of the year, AM3 relies on free-air cooling. Excess heat generated by customer's IT equipment is also used to help warm nearby buildings.

  • Deep lake water cooling

    Deep lake water cooling

    Equinix's TR1 IBX in Toronto reduces power consumption by using the city's Deep Lake Water Cooling (DLWC) system to draw water from the chilly depths of Lake Ontario to cool buildings in downtown Toronto, including our data center. This novel approach reduces total energy needs by 50% or more.

  • Direct and Indirect Economization

    Direct and Indirect Economization

    In Equinix data centers around the world, we've deployed air and fluid economizers to provide "free cooling" to our colocation space, maintaining temperatures within acceptable ranges while lowering energy consumption. Our economization systems reduce or sometimes eliminate the need to run mechanical cooling systems, which contribute significantly to the energy footprint of any data center. The types of economizers we deploy—direct or indirect, air or fluid (usually water or glycol)—depend on local climate conditions and data center space constraints.

  • Fuel Cells

    Fuel Cells

    Our FR4 IBX in Frankfurt produces approximately 800,000 kilowatt hours of electricity annually through a controlled chemical reaction involving oxygen, hydrogen and water. The power and cooling capacity created by the fuel cell system could reduce FR4's consumption of energy from the grid by 24% and save about 150 metric tons of CO2 emissions each year.

  • Green Rooftops

    Green Rooftops

    By covering roofs with plants and vegetation at our AM3 IBX in Amsterdam and our ZH5 IBX in Zurich, Equinix lowered cooling costs and reduced storm water runoff, which is associated with flooding and the nutrient pollution of nearby lakes and rivers.

  • Solar Power

    Solar Power

    Solar photovoltaic (PV) systems have been installed at our AM3 (Amsterdam), FR2 (Frankfurt) and SG3 (Singapore) IBX data centers to supplement power from the local grid.

  • Granular Temperature Control Systems

    Granular Temperature Control Systems

    Equinix's SG1 IBX in Singapore has been retrofitted with a granular temperature control system that has improved the facility's PUE by 15%. Based on SG1's impressive results, this control system is now being installed at several other Equinix data centers, including facilities in Chicago, Hong Kong, Silicon Valley and Sydney.

  • Thermally-Enhanced Design

    Thermally-Enhanced Design

    Equinix's SV5 IBX data center in Silicon Valley incorporates techniques from state-of-the-art refrigeration systems to significantly reduce the power needed to cool the colocation floor. The system uses efficient direct expansion coils, lower fan power through air management approaches and an innovative evaporative condensing system that is more efficient than conventional air-cooled condensers.

  • Water Recycling

    Water Recycling

    Several Equinix data centers—RJ2 in Rio de Janeiro, SV2 and SV3 in California's Silicon Valley, SY3 in Sydney and our Ashburn campus in the Washington, D.C., area—use recycled rainwater and/or municipally supplied gray water for landscape irrigation and also sometimes for data center cooling systems.

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