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White Paper #45 - Data Centre Life Cycle Assessment Guidelines

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Christophe Garnier, Schneider Electric ITB

Mark Aggar, Microsoft
Marc Banks, Deutsche Bank
Jay Dietrich, IBM
Bob Shatten, Individual Member
Markus Stutz, Dell
Emmanuel Tong-Viet, IBM

In response to the growing demand for environmental impact data, various standards organizations, industry consortia, and regulatory bodies have developed tools that share the same goal: accurately assess the environmental impact of a product or organization. Each tool focuses on a particular range of interest (e.g., all environmental impacts or a single impact, such as greenhouse gases), designates applicable life cycle stages (e.g., complete life cycle or just one phase, such as a use or recycling phase), and covers different product ranges (e.g., all products, including food, clothes, and electronics, or only specific product categories, such as electronics and electrical equipment). The individual tools all have their own particular requirements and limitations and, in almost all cases, provide gross estimates of the calculated impacts at best.

This white paper, produced by The Green Grid, provides a framework for identifying and describing the elements necessary to assess a data centre’s complete life cycle, taking all relevant environmental impacts into consideration. The white paper focuses on defining applicable assessment boundaries and environmental concerns; it does not delve into all the economic and social aspects of sustainable data centre operations, such as the use of “conflict material

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