Increasingly, both the public and private sectors are interested in determining a product or organization’s environmental impact, also referred to as its environmental footprint. Whether for policy making, regulation compliance, or customer information purposes, environmental impact assessments are growing in importance and frequency.
A number of entities have developed methodologies and tools for assessing environmental impacts some can be applied in a limited way to a data centre. The current state of life cycle assessment (LCA) methodologies, the lack of applicable primary and secondary data for assessing data centre components and systems, and the complexity of the data centre create serious difficulties in performing a data centre LCA. The Green Grid—an international, non-profit consortium working to enhance data centre resource efficiency—does not seek to develop yet another methodology or calculate the environmental impacts of a particular data centre, but rather to provide a framework and rules that can be used by organizations around the world to describe the specifics of their data centres in a consistent manner, so that all the different methodologies can evaluate a data centre’s environmental impacts in the same way.
The Green Grid’s framework is intended to be used by data centre owners, renters, and operators as a common basis in order to harmonize environmental impact studies. This white paper introduces the framework, highlights supporting industry standards, and discusses how to identify and uniformly describe the key elements of a data centre for the purposes of conducting a complete life cycle assessment of a data centre’s full environmental impacts.