IO is one of those businesses, committed to sustainable practices and leading by example. We’re thrilled to have been recently honored for that work; IO received the 2015 Environmental Quality Award from the New Jersey Business & Industry Association (NJBIA). The award is presented to companies that have done outstanding work to preserve or enhance the quality of the environment in New Jersey.
Setting an example
Data center efficiency starts with how the building itself is designed, constructed, and operated. BREEAM is one way to assess whether a data center has been built according to sustainability best practices. The international standard “encourages designers, clients and others to think about low carbon and low impact design, minimizing the energy demands created by a building before considering energy efficiency and low carbon technologies.”
Earlier this year, IO’s London data center was awarded a “very good” BREEAM certificate. As my colleague Nigel Stevens, IO’s UK Managing Director, described it at the time, “The certification illustrates IO’s commitment to providing energy-efficient data center solutions for enterprises here in London, and throughout the world.”
2) Efficient data center modules
The New Jersey Business & Industry Association is the nation’s largest statewide employer association – its members, as a group, employ more than one million people. Each year, the NJBIA honors a select group of employers for their outstanding achievements in four categories:
- Business Success, for exceptional business growth
- Environmental Quality, for protection of the environment
- Outstanding Employer, for outstanding workforce management practices
- Community Service, for dedicated community service
While conferring the Award for Excellence in Environmental Quality, NJBIA noted that IO “has set an example for other data centers that want to cut their energy usage.”
Sustainability is good business
“We are honored to receive this recognition from the NJBIA for leadership in adopting sustainable data center practices,” said Rick Crutchley, IO senior vice president and managing director, North America. “We have long believed that what is good for the environment can also make good business sense. Sustainability is an important pillar of our business strategy.”
IO.New Jersey – the largest modular data center in the world – is one of the most energy- and cost-efficient data centers available. Efficiency is made possible at IO in large part because of our modular technology, which is proven to use less energy and less water than the traditional raised-floor data center. (For details check out The First-ever Side-by-Side Comparison of Energy Use in a Modular v. Raised Floor Data Center)
From printing plant to data center
IO’s New Jersey data center is in a building that was previously a regional printing plant and distribution center for The New York Times. The Times built the state-of-the-art printing plant in 1992, a year after the web as we know it was invented and four years before the Times began publishing daily on the World Wide Web.
In this dense location along the New Jersey Turnpike, there are no longer trucks moving in and out to deliver newspapers, but news and other information is still flowing out of its walls, at the speed of light through fiber optic cable. It’s clear here that the data center is the foundation of our digital world.
Data centers and energy
Technology has made our world a better, safer, cleaner – more sustainable place. At the heart of those advances lies the data center. As technology progresses and more IoT devices come online and more organizations take advantage of Big Data, the world will need more data centers.
By their nature, data centers consume a lot of energy. Unfortunately, when operated according to the traditional data center model, the data center wastes a lot of energy. But that doesn’t have to be so.
Achieving momentum in sustainability
Sustainability efforts often struggle to achieve momentum. There are two ways to overcome this challenge:
- A company must have a supportive executive team who understands that healthy organizations never stop changing.
- The industry needs clear areas of alignment between good business strategy and good sustainability strategy.
Sustainability is in line with the core of IO DNA: constant reinvention, relentless innovation, and elegant engineering.
For example, one of the ways that IO has grown in our understanding of our environmental impact is through our participation in the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP). Through the CDP, we annually measure environmental impact criteria like CO2 emission, water usage, and power utilization. By measuring our impact, we are able to set goals for improvement, and then track the results of various efforts to achieve those goals. It’s the concept of continuous improvement applied to sustainability, and it works.
In a nutshell: Sustainability at IO
The sustainability mission at IO – in New Jersey and around the world – includes:
- Increase the efficiency of our data center platform in its design
- Enable the customer to drive efficient value creation
- Lower CO2 emissions and water usage at our data center sites
- Minimize emissions from our supply chain, in logistics, and throughout our business, including emissions from corporate travel
- Reduce material waste
- Choose environmentally friendly materials
- Support partners and associates as they strive to achieve efficiency across the broader systems in which we operate
- Improve the health, safety, and fulfillment of our own employees and the individuals in our supply chain
We’ve long said that sustainability is good business. At IO, we don’t pursue sustainability for the recognition, but it’s always nice. The NJBIA 2015 Environmental Quality Award is one we’re very proud of.
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