ServerFarm: How Can Design Play a Role in Decreasing CO2 in Data Centers?
- Rand Ekman
- Tommy Zakrzewski, PhD
- Bernie Woytek
- Allison Smith
In our modern data-driven economy, data centers are major consumers of energy, contributing to carbon emissions and impacting the climate. How can design play a role in decreasing CO2 in data center design?
HKS partnered with Mission Critical client ServerFarm on a whole-building life-cycle analysis to determine the impact of reusing existing building stock as compared to new construction. Our report demonstrates that modernizing a data center using an existing building while expanding capacity can deliver embodied carbon savings of 88% when compared with the material carbon cost of the new project.
Conducting a whole-building life cycle assessment (WBLCA) is a discovery process that examines multiple impacts of building materials, including their carbon emissions potential, over their entire life cycle—from material extraction and manufacturing through recycling and finally, the landfill. Armed with scientific data and credible analysis, WBLCA provides designers and clients with deep insight into a project’s energy savings potential, enabling good decision making related to reducing both embodied and operational carbon.