Environmental sustainability of data centres: A need for a multi-impact and life cycle approach

Key Messages

  • The concerns over energy use of data centres and associated impacts on climate change have attract-ed efforts to reduce data centres’ energy demand during operations.
  • The focus on reducing climate change related impacts arising from data centres’ operations can overlook relevant environmental impacts from other life cycle stages, including raw material ex-traction, equipment manufacturing, data centre construction, end of life of equipment and data centre buildings.
  • To support the design of truly sustainable data centres, more comprehensive environmental sustain-ability assessments, encompassing the entire life cycle and factoring in a broad spectrum of environmental problems, are needed.
  • This issue brief uses examples to showcase the substantial environmental impacts of data centres stemming from other life cycle stages than their operations and calls for the use of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) to assess and address such impacts.

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Environmental sustainability of data centres: A need for a multi-impact and life cycle approach

Sectors: Digital, Equipment and appliances, Industry

Country / Region: Global

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

In 1 user collection: C2E2 Publications

Knowledge Object: Publication / Report

Published by: Copenhagen Centre on Energy Efficiency

Publishing year: 2020

Author: Alexis Laurent, Mirko Dal Maso