Green data centres

Equinix met 33.5% OF OUR GLOBAL ELECTRICITY REQUIREMENTS in 2015 through renewable energy purchases.

Equinix Singapore SG3 data centre

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 utilise renewable and low-carbon energy
  • We prefer local sources of energy
  • We prefer new or recently built energy sources
  • We seek favourable renewable energy policies when locating new data centres

Our Progress

At Equinix we have a long history of investing in sustainable data centres. In fact Equinix’s energy efficiency programme dates back to the dawn of our beginning. In the early 2000s we were mindful 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 30% in 2014 to 33.5% annually in 2015 gradually moving up to 44% at the end of 2015.
  • Maintained 100% renewable energy in Europe as we have grown. Telecity acquisition sites were 73% renewable in 2015 and expected to increase as new contracts are signed.
  • 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 2015 Equinix met 33.5% of its global electricity requirements through renewable energy purchases. This includes 100% certified green power in Europe, onsite generation from solar panels and fuel cells, and renewable generation from bridge renewable energy certificates to cover our California load. 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 2015 was 1,122,413 metric tons of CO2 (47% Americas, 27% Asia Pacific, 26% Europe). Factoring in the impact of our renewable purchases in Europe and our renewable energy certificates in the US, our market-based Scope 2 carbon footprint was 766,068 metric tons of CO2 (61% Americas, 39% Asia Pacific, 0% Europe). These numbers were assured to ISO 14064-3 standards.

Green data centres

Our energy mix

In 2015, with the continuous expansion of our businesses, Equinix consumed over 2,600 GWh of electricity or the equivalent of 239,000 average US residential homes.

Our regional energy consumption breakdown in 2015 was:

  • Americas: 1,337,833 MWh (51%)
  • Asia Pacific: 490,230 MWh (19%)
  • Europe: 775,144 MWh (30%)

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 100% (purchased through our supplier contracts. This is different from the utility resource mix: Renewables 30%, Coal 25%, Natural gas 17%, Nuclear 22%)

*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 help us avoid 36,000 kilowatts of demand annually. That’s the same as taking roughly 35,000 cars off the road ever year.


Green innovation

Our $56 million of energy efficiency investments since 2011 have help us avoid 36,000 kilowatts of demand annually or approximately 370,000 metric tons in CO2 emissions avoided now every year. We continue to expand our energy efficiency programme (EEP) and maximise opportunities for continuous improvement within our data centres.

To help us conserve even more energy in the coming years, Equinix has recently adopted more aggressive regional power usage effectiveness (PUE) design targets for new sites as well as major expansions. These targets are based on an average annual PUE at full load (with redundancy) that meets the definition for PUE Category 3.

Learn more about Equinix PUE Design

Green technologies deployed globally

Green data centres

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

Green data centres

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

Green data centres

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

Green data centres

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

Green data centres

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 centres, 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 centres.

  • 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 centre. This novel approach reduces total energy needs by 50% or more.

  • Direct and indirect economisation

    Direct and indirect economisation

    In Equinix data centres around the world, we've deployed air and fluid economisers to provide "free cooling" to our colocation space, maintaining temperatures within acceptable ranges while lowering energy consumption. Our economisation systems reduce or sometimes eliminate the need to run mechanical cooling systems, which contribute significantly to the energy footprint of any data centre. The types of economisers we deploy — direct or indirect, air or fluid (usually water or glycol) — depend on local climate conditions and data centre 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 centres 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 centres, including facilities in Chicago, Hong Kong, Silicon Valley and Sydney.

  • Thermally-enhanced design

    Thermally-enhanced design

    Equinix's SV5 IBX data centre 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 centres — 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 greywater for landscape irrigation and also sometimes for data centre cooling systems.

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