Green Data Centers
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 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
At Equinix, we strive to be good stewards of the environment and of the resources we consume. This drives us to embrace actions that minimize our environmental footprint -- advancing our business and helping our customers operate more sustainably. We’ve made a long-term pledge to power Platform Equinix® with 100% clean and renewable energy which will result in carbon-neutral data center and interconnection services for our customers and partners around the globe.
Equinix covered approximately 90% of our global electricity consumption in 2018 with equivalent renewable energy purchases. This represents a significant increase over our 2017 position of 77% renewable worldwide. We met our RE100 goal of 50% by the end of 2017 one year early at the end of 2016. This includes our recent acquisitions of sites from Verizon Data Centers, Itconic, IO, and Zenium. As of the end of 2017, Equinix’s regional achieve the following renewable energy percentage: Americas (72.7%), Asia-Pacific (64.6%), EMEA (89.3%).
Our 2018** regional renewable energy purchasing highlights include:
- Americas - Approximately 95% renewable: : Equinix has 225 MW of utility-scale wind under long-term Virtual Power Purchase Agreement (VPPA) contracts. In addition, we purchased 1,250,000 MWh of Green-e Wind RECs. This results in 100% U.S. coverage for all legacy and Verizon U.S. sites
- Asia-Pacific - Approximately 75% renewable: : Shanghai and Hong Kong 100% covered through Chinese IRECs Singapore ~75% covered through Vietnamese IRECs Japan 100% covered through a mix of Chinese IRECs and Japanese emissions reduction credits (J-credits)
- EMEA - Approximately 90% renewable: : 100% legacy Equinix renewable coverage. Continued progress adding renewable energy to Telecity contracts.
** These values will be third party assured in Q2 2019 and are subject to change based on final end of year volumes.
Using Power Purchase Agreements to Achieve Our Goals
Equinix was an early adopter of the Virtual Power Purchase Agreement (VPPA); a contracting mechanism to bring new renewable energy online even in the face of having a diverse geographic load. In 2015, Equinix signed two long-term agreements: 100 MW of wind in Texas and 125 MW of wind in Oklahoma. Our Wake, Texas wind farm came online November 1, 2016 and our Rush Springs, Oklahoma wind farm came online December 1, 2016.
We believe it is imperative for companies to always challenge themselves to actively seek solutions that are more sustainable than what they’re doing today. We ask ourselves, “How can we meet the changing needs of our customers and stakeholders, while also enriching the world and doing the right thing?” Our VPPAs are an innovative way we are making a difference on the U.S. electricity grids and promoting a low carbon future for all.
Our Climate Change Impact: Our Greenhouse Gas Footprint
Transparency around the impact of our IBX operations is a key aspect of our Green by Design strategy. In 2017, Equinix’s total carbon footprint was 1,756,000 mtCO2e without accounting of our local renewable energy purchases (aka this our location-based carbon footprint). Our total carbon footprint with our renewable energy and local supplier emission-factors considered was 467,000 mtCO2e.
Equinix’s emissions footprint is comprised of 99% electricity consumption and 1% other fuels including diesel for onsite backup generation and natural gas. Offices and non-IBX operations account for less than 1% of our carbon footprint. We use the World Resources Institute’s Greenhouse Gas Protocol and our Scope 1, Scope 2 and most of our Scope 3 emissions are assured to ISO 14064-3:2006 standards.
Other ways Equinix is addressing its resource consumption:
- 37 MW of fuel cells under contract in the U.S. Fuel cells, while not carbon neutral, offer a lower carbon footprint and provide always-on highly reliable power at the location where it is consumed. This results in price stability and reduces reliance on the local grid
- Set energy reduction targets at the local level in the form of Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) improvements of 2-3% per annum
- Adopted more aggressive regional design PUE targets 8-10% less on average
- Invested in onsite deployments of solar in Singapore, Amsterdam and Ashburn
Our Commitment to Collaboration and Transparency
We understand that you can’t manage what you don’t measure. That's why we support measurement and transparency around the impact of our operations globally.
Highlights of our efforts include:
- As of October 2018, Equinix is #6 on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Green Power Partnership National Top 100 list
- Equinix received an “A-” score from CDP in 2017; placing us in the Leadership band
- Since 2016 Equinix’s greenhouse gas data has been third party audited and we have reported our climate change data to the CDP Investor and Supply Chain Surveys
- Additional surveys we respond or interface with include: Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB), EcoVadis Supplier Sustainability Ratings, MSCI, Sustainalytics and FTSE Russell
- We support measurement, reporting and transparency around the impact of our operations
Our Energy Mix
In 2017 with the continuous expansion of our businesses, Equinix consumed 4,518 GWh of electricity or the equivalent of 400,000 average U.S. residential homes. Our regional energy consumption breakdown in 2017 was:
- Americas: 2,060 GWh (45% of Total)
- Asia Pacific: 800 GWh (18% of Total)
- Europe: 1,660 GWh (37% of Total)
Our effective 2017 electricity resource mix directly supplied by our utilities and suppliers (not including additional renewable energy purchases through VPPAs, certificates, and guarantees of origin) was:
- Coal 17.6%
- Gas 29.2%
- Nuclear 28.0%
- Utility-Owned Renewables 16.0%
- Other 9.2%
- Coal 17.9%
- Gas 62.4%
- Nuclear 6.5%
- Utility-Owned Renewables 9.9%
- Other 3.3%
- Coal 16.0%
- Gas 22.0%
- Nuclear 14.2%
- Utility-Owned Renewables 42.8%
- Other 5.0%
- Coal 17.1%
- Gas 32.4%
- Nuclear 19.1%
- Utility-Owned Renewables 24.8%
- Other 6.6%
*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 2017 values now include recent M&A activity such as Telecity, Bit-isle, Verizon Data Centers, Itconic, IO and Zenium.
Since 2011, we have invested $100 million in energy efficiency upgrades, retrofits, and improvements; with millions of dollars more in execution. Our investments have helped us avoid 23,000 kilowatts of demand annually or 900,000 MWh since 2011 roughly equivalent to avoiding 330,000 metric tons in CO2 emissions around the world. We continue to expand our Energy Efficiency Program (EEP) and maximize opportunities for continuous improvement within our data centers.
Learn more about Equinix PUE Design
Green technologies deployed globally
Adaptive control systems reduce power consumption and increases cooling capacity through active airflow management using intelligent, distributed sensors and innovative control policies.
ASHRAE thermal guidelines 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.
Cold/hot aisle containment lowers energy consumption and enables more efficient cooling by using physical barriers to reduce the mixing of cold air in data center supply aisles with the hot air in exhaust aisles.
Energy-efficient lighting systems utilize motion-activated controls and/or LEDs to reduce energy consumption and ambient heat from operating lights.
Fuel Cells place electricity in close proximity to our energy consumption while allowing maximum efficiency and increased resiliency. Equinix has 38 MW of fuel cells deployed in the U.S.
Machine learning and AI (Artificial Intelligence) used in several pilot projects to identify new energy efficiency improvements in our data centers
High Temperature Chilled Water Set improve our design and operational PUEs by raising the chilled water temperature to save energy.