Green data centres
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
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 28% in 2014 and 33.5% in 2015 to 56% in 2016.
- In 2016, we 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 1 November 2016 and our Rush Springs, Oklahoma wind farm came online 1 December 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 tonnes 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.
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.
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 tonnes in CO2 emissions around the world. We continue to expand our energy efficiency programme (EEP) and maximise opportunities for continuous improvement within our data centres.
Learn more about Equinix PUE Design
Equinix’s energy efficiency programmes 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).
Green technologies deployed globally
Adaptive control systems reduce power consumption and increase cooling capacity through active airflow management using intelligent, distributed sensors and innovative control policies.
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.
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.
Energy-efficient lighting systems in our data centres use motion-activated controls to reduce energy consumption and ambient heat from operating lights.
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.