Green Data Centers

Equinix met 30% OF OUR GLOBAL ELECTRICITY REQUIREMENTS in 2014 through renewable energy purchases.

Equinix Singapore SG3 Data Center

Championing Green Energy

At Equinix, our purpose is to protect, connect, and power the digital economy, and we believe that it is important to do this in an environmentally sustainable way. We design, build, and operate data centers with high energy efficiency standards and a long-term goal of using 100% clean and renewable energy for our global platform. These efforts result in carbon-neutral data center and interconnection services for our customers and partners around the globe.

Our Renewable Energy Principles:

  • We prefer to utilize renewable and low carbon energy
  • We prefer local sources of energy
  • We prefer new or recently built energy sources
  • We seek favorable renewable energy policies when locating new data centers
  • We will provide regular updates on our sustainability goals and progress to improve focus and transparency

Our Progress

Equinix met over 30% of our global electricity requirements in 2014 through renewable energy purchases. This was nearly 195,000 MWh more than our 2013 commitment. The additional quantity is equivalent of the annual output of a 70 MW solar PV farm*. These renewable energy purchases are on top of any renewable energy distributed through the power grid from our utilities and energy suppliers.

Our gross carbon footprint for 2014 was 1,016,467 metrics tons of CO2 (51% Americas, 25% Asia Pacific, 24% Europe). Factoring in the impact of our renewable purchases in EU, our net carbon footprint for 2014 is 773,289 metric tons of CO2 (67% Americas, 33% Asia Pacific, 0% Europe).*Based on capacity factor of 32%.

*Based on capacity factor of 32%.

Green data centers

Our Energy Mix

In 2014, with the continuous expansion of our businesses, Equinix consumed over 2,200 GWh of electricity. Our effective 2014 electricity resource mix was as follows:*

  • Americas: Renewables 17%, Coal 27%, Natural Gas 19%, Nuclear 22%
  • Asia Pacific: Renewables 3%, Coal 30%, Natural Gas 40%, Nuclear 7%
  • Europe: Renewables 100% (in addition to utility resource mix: Renewables 22%, Coal 28%, Natural gas 24%, Nuclear 23%)
  • *The percentage is calculated based on specific supplier contracts, utility or supplier specific generation mix where available. Equinix will continue to progress aligning with the amended Scope 2 Guidance of GHG Protocol Corporate Standard.

Equinix environmental programs have helped us avoid 13,500 kilowatts of demand annually. That’s the same as taking almost 14,500 cars off the road.


Saving energy through green innovation

We constantly evaluate the energy efficiency of our data centers and we’re quick to adopt proven energy-saving technologies or techniques on a global scale. For instance, systems that reduce power use by actively monitoring air flow are becoming standard in our data centers. Controls that optimize cold aisle temperature, chiller efficiency, chilled water flow, modern lighting systems, gray water use and rain water capture are also becoming more standard.

Since 2011, our environmental programs have helped us avoid 13,500 kilowatts of demand annually—the equivalent of nearly 72,500 metric tons in CO2 emissions. That’s the same as taking almost 14,500 cars off the road or enough to power more than 11,000 U.S. homes for a year.

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 PUE3. Our current targets range from 1.29-1.40 and represent an average incremental efficiency gain of 8-10%.

Learn more about Equinix PUE Design

Green technologies deployed globally

Green data centers

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

Green data centers

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

Green data centers

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

Green data centers

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

Green data centers

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 centers, 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 centers.

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

  • Direct and Indirect Economization

    Direct and Indirect Economization

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

  • Thermally-Enhanced Design

    Thermally-Enhanced Design

    Equinix's SV5 IBX data center 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 centers—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 gray water for landscape irrigation and also sometimes for data center cooling systems.

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