Data Center: Moving into a Greener Tomorrow

Today, many companies like SAP have developed solutions that are helping companies meet their internal sustainable efforts as well as encourage their customers and partners to move into a greener and more efficient system of organizational functioning. The company internally drives sustainable initiatives such as reducing energy use, managing electronic waste (e-waste) responsibly, and fostering dematerialization or substituting high-carbon activities with lower carbon ones.

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India is soon to become the world’s third largest emitter of carbon dioxide by 2020, producing over 2 bn tons of CO2 each year. According to the International Energy Agency India’s greenhouse gas emissions grew 58% between 1994 and 2007. Emissions rose to 1.9 bn tons in 2007 versus 1.2 bn in 1994, with the industrial and transport sectors upping their share in Asia’s third largest economy and confirming India’s ranking among the world’s top five carbon polluters.

Cognizant of this scary fact, corporates are chipping in to play their part to ensure a sustainable tomorrow. A case in point being IT companies making the shift into greener technologies and sustainable initiatives by understanding the environmental implications as well the cost effectiveness of green IT. Volatile energy prices, expanding stakeholder concerns of carbon exposure, and environment-driven regulations are worrisome uncertainties for businesses today. As such, more companies are focusing on continued and sustained reduction of both environmental inputs (including energy and water) and outputs (including greenhouse gas emissions) of their operations. To successfully create a sustainability plan in today’s energy-constrained world, an organization would need to execute a proactive strategy for enterprise energy and environment management that surpasses the rudimentary practice of a basic greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory. By assessing the energy and environmental impact across its entire operations including product development, logistics, employee activities, and the entire supply chain, companies can identify opportunities for reduction of their carbon emissions. What would also help is in organizations leveraging on a consistent process to create an auditable system of records; identifying every financial and operational option for mitigating energy and greenhouse gases across all emission categories, and hedging against rising energy and regulatory costs. One of the key initiatives made by many large organizations is reducing travel related costs through teleconferencing and telepresence solutions. These solutions have significantly reduced the carbon footprint and, on a plus side, allowed global remote connectivity. Waste emission is another key area that organizations can focus on, ensuring minimal waste deposits, be it organic wastes or e-wastes. During a seminar held for the e-waste policy in India, it was discussed that approximately 150,000 tons of e-waste is generated in India every year. Companies have come to a common understanding that wastes containing substances like lead, cadmium, mercury, polyvinyl chloride have the ability to cause damage to human health and as a mandate need to be disposed properly. Organic waste, on the other hand, may not be harmful to the environment, but if disposed properly, can be used to help the environment.Green IT initiatives are the largest step towards moving into a sustainable future. Several organizations have been recognized for their Green initiatives. For example, SAP has won the Best Green Idea Award for 2011 instituted by Deutsches Institut fr Betriebswirtschaft and the Green IT Award 2010 instituted by the German Government, large corporations and Technical University.

By investing in server virtualization and cooling systems, the company was able to witness a jump from 37% to 65% in virtual servers translating into greater computing power and a minimal addition to the number of servers.


Companies have understood the cost behind maintaining their data centers. Data centers need to be constantly kept cool and the increasing need to enable more coolers in a country like India leads to higher costs of maintenance. To reduce the consumption of energy within data centers, organizations are now tapping renewable means of energy like solar energy.

While the need of the hour is to set a benchmark in being the most environmentally, economically and socially sustainable organization, organizations are striving to ensure that their businesses are rapidly growing in an ecosystem where the partners as well as vendors comply with environmental norms that they adhere to.


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