Although Singapore’s impact on global emissions is small — representing about 0.11% of global greenhouse gas emissions — the effect of climate change on the country is disproportionately large and existential. This is why Singapore is aiming to halve the amount of emissions it produces from its 2030 peak by 2050 and achieve net-zero emissions as soon as viable in the second half of the century.

Here is how two data centre operators are doing their part to help Singapore attain those goals.

STT GDC has designed its new hyper-scale data centre in Loyang to support its goal of net carbon-neutral data centre operations by 2030. The facility will have a power usage effectiveness (PUE) of less than 1.3, and some of its green features include:

  • A 2,000m2 rooftop solar photovoltaic system feeding approximately 400MWh per annum of renewable zero-carbon energy directly into the facility’s power network, avoiding approximately 158 tonnes of CO2 emissions, the equivalent of CO2 capture by 2,600 trees over 10 years;
  • High-efficiency cooling equipment that reduces overall energy consumption by between 30% and 40% compared to industry norms, whilst enhancing the level of cooling control precision;
  • Uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems that feature the latest lithium-ion technology, enabling significantly improved energy density and recharge time.
With all these features, STT Loyang has met the highest sustainability benchmarks of the BCA-IMDA Green Mark Platinum and LEED Gold v4.

STT GDC also launched its ESG (environmental, social, and governance) strategy across its group of companies earlier this year. The initiatives include increasing energy and water efficiency, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and conducting water stewardship assessments for all its properties, especially those in water-stressed regions. "We are committed to being fully carbon-neutral from the outset, including both the construction and STT GDC’s ongoing energy consumption through the life of new buildings,” says Dan Pointon, group CTO of ST Telemedia Global Data Centres (STT GDC).

Similarly, Equinix has committed to be “climate-neutral by 2030 by setting science-based targets for emissions reduction across its global operations and throughout its supply chains”, says Leong Yee May, managing director of Equinix South Asia. It aims to reduce its Scope 1 and 2 emissions (direct and indirect from electricity) by 50% by 2030 against a 2019 baseline.

See also: Greening the backbone of a Smart Nation

To do so, Equinix ensures that Green Building principles — accredited by local government and international standards such as LEED — are upheld with each construction, sustainable innovations are incorporated and operationalised wherever possible given the climate of the location, and resource efficiency is maintained.

Some of the sustainability innovations that its Singapore data centres use are motion-activated LED lights, automated control and regulation of motors, as well as hot aisle containment and ceiling plenum infrastructure. The buildings are also fitted with renewable energy technology such as solar photovoltaic installations, rainwater capture and E-Clean systems. Recycled NEWater, an energy-saving process that is aligned with the Singapore government’s green initiatives, is also adopted for cooling purposes.

Additionally, Equinix’s data centres utilise emerging technologies like IBX Smartview, adaptive control systems, waste heat recycling, aquifer thermal energy storage, and AI with IoT devices to calibrate intelligent power monitoring at scale. These technologies work in synergy and tandem to help Equinix and their customers be more energy-efficient and achieve their sustainability goals.

“In particular, Equinix’s IBX Smartview allows partners and customers to measure and control their own energy consumption so that they can be aware, monitor, and calibrate their environmental impact as they make their digital decisions for their organisations,” says Leong.

Photo: STT GDC